Food packaging forecasted as fastest-growing sector.
Smithers Pira has released “The Future of Printing for Food Packaging to 2021,” a report compiled by consultant Sean Smyth. The analyst forecasts that food packaging will grow at a faster rate than the general packaging market over the next five years at a CAGR of three percent, in part thanks to increasing development and adoption of food-safe inks.
“The value [of food-safe inks] is growing at a higher rate,” says a release, “showing the high cost of these materials, which is why many converters do not use them; but this is changing following pressure from brands and growing regulation of food safety from regional and national governments.”
Food-safe, low-migration inks and coatings are designed to release the fewest possible contaminants – when properly applied. The report cautions that using the right materials and the right manufacturing processes is essential to maintaining this intent.
The report says consumer behavior is driving the acceleration of the market, as well: Family dinners are increasingly rare, and snacking is more and more common, accounting for 50 percent of all food and beverage consumption in the US, according to research from the Hartman Group. “For packaging,” the release continues, “this means a reduction in the pack size, with more samples and designs to facilitate consumption ‘on-the-move,’ and the pack increasingly acting as the serving method.” This in turn ups the importance of food-safe materials, as well as the demand for resealable and more transportable, flexible containers. “This results in packaging being handled more during use, meaning there is less distinction between food contact and indirect packaging.”