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A new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. predicts that demand for vegetable and fruit packaging will increase 3.2 percent per year, reaching $6 billion by 2019.

According to the study, corrugated boxes led the category with over 35 percent of demand in 2014. Analyst Katie Weiser explained that both retail and foodservice industries favor corrugated boxes “due to their light weight, low cost, graphics capabilities, and well established recycling infrastructure.” Corrugated is the primary format for bulk shipments in many commodity applications, in part due to recent innovations such as recyclable, wax-free boxes and modular formats that can be easily stacked and shipped, the study reports.

The study predicts that produce packaging will outpace growth in fresh fruit and veggie production, due to packaging’s increasingly important roles in traceability, marketing, and product protection. Consumer demand for ready-to-eat health foods will also drive produce packaging sales.

The Cleveland-based industry market research firm identified plastic containers and stand-up pouches as the fastest growing packaging formats due to their space for marketing messages and brand recognition. Flexible pouches can advertise benefits like nutritional properties and sourcing practices. Plastic containers provide the benefit of extra product protection, useful for more delicate produce like berries and tomatoes. According to the study, more and more producers are choosing pouches and plastic containers for specialty produce varieties to give the products distinction.


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