US petfood packaging demand to reach US$2.5 billion by 2018

US demand for petfood packaging is expected to rise 4.8% annually to US$2.5 billion in 2018, according to "Pet Food Packaging," a study conducted by The Freedonia Group Inc.

US demand for petfood packaging is expected to rise 4.8% annually to US$2.5 billion in 2018, according to "Pet Food Packaging," a study conducted by The Freedonia Group Inc.

Growth will be based on the use of higher-value, more sophisticated packaging and continued strength in petfood shipments fueled by an expected rebound in the pet population. The proliferation of premium petfood brands providing healthier, more nutritious alternatives (corresponding to the continuing humanization of pets by their owners) will also spur packaging demand growth, says the report.

“Plastic pouches will be the primary beneficiary of the trend toward more advanced petfood packaging," says analyst Joe Pryweller. "Pouch demand in petfood packaging will rise 8.3% per year to US$540 million in 2018, the fastest pace of growth among petfood packaging types.” Pouch demand will be bolstered by features that are inherently convenient for consumers, including zippered closure mechanisms and light weight, as well as by reduced transportation costs due to their light weight.

Demand for tubs and cups will benefit from the need for convenience features and light weight in petfood packaging. As a result, tubs and cups will continue to supplant metal containers in wet food, growing in popularity due to peelable lids that are easier to open and allow the consumer to avoid cuts from metal edges, according to the report.

Dry food will continue to represent the largest food segment in petfood packaging, with a share of 49% in 2018. Bags are by far the largest packaging type in this segment due to the dominance of bulk items—those weighing 16 pounds or more—in dry petfood. Multiwall paper bags are the preferred packaging type in the dry food packaging category, but woven polypropylene bags are gaining favor, with demand expected to expand 8.6% annually through 2018.

Chilled and frozen petfood products offer another area of opportunity for petfood packaging growth. This category has developed from a small base and is expected to more than double in size through 2018, boosting demand for pouches, bags, tubs and cups, and chubs. Consumer interest in raw petfood products with prolonged shelf life will fuel growth in this category as retail stores increase freezer and refrigerator shelf space, says the report.

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