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U.S. Food Industry Forecasted to Grow Through 2022

Much of the projected growth comes from two specific segments that are meeting consumer demands for portion control and convenience.

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The U.S. food industry is forecast to grow at a steady rate of 2.9 percent through 2022, according to the just released 2016 Food Packaging Trends and Advances report from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.

Based on interviews from 70 professionals across the food processing and packaging industry in the U.S. and overseas, the study forecasts that meat and related products and snack foods will outperform the market with over three percent growth. The growth in these two segments is attributed to consumer demand for portion control and convenience options.

The U.S. food industry trails the global market and, while North America is the largest global market across all food segments, the overall growth of the food industry, which includes food packaging, is being driven by emerging markets like Argentina, Brazil, China and India. Global growth rates for most segments are double U.S. growth rates, except for meat and related products (8.5 percent), and candy and confections (eight percent), which have higher rates of global growth compared to those of the United States.

U.S. food packaging innovations are often concepts that are already in use in other segments and innovations from other countries are beginning to enter the U.S. food packaging market. One trend that meat manufacturers find exciting is a product with a film that opens during cooking which allows the meat to brown after a pre-determined period of time.

According to the report, the most innovative food industry segments are:

  • Snack Foods: Recycled and biodegradable materials for salty snacks; stylish, vivid graphics and shapes for single-serve packs.
  • Meat and Related Products: New films to keep meat fresher longer; active labels to sense when meat is past its expiration.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Clear, tactile films to make consumers pause and consider the product; more single-serve packaging.
  • Pet Food: More recycled materials in packaging; single-serve containers to differentiate niche or premium products.

Consumer demand continues to drive the industry, as noted in the current major packaging trends: convenience, flexibility, safety, sustainability and technology. To learn more, an infographic illustrating key findings is now available on or visit to download the Executive Summary.

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