By Sheri Kasprzak

Growing demand from fast food joints, takeout places, and quick-service restaurants will drive the global food service packaging market over the next five years, according to Markets and Markets, a research firm. The market size is projected to climb at a 5.23 percent compound annual growth rate to $84.33 billion by 2022.

The plastics segment dominated the market in 2016 and is expected to retain the top spot through 2022. Flexible plastics, in particular, accounted for the highest market share for the sector.

“Plastic minimizes the use of resources by allowing the manufacturer to make packages that wrap around the product and offer high visibility,” according to Markets and Markets. “It can be used for the packaging of any type of food products, is easily recyclable, and offers resistance to heat.”

Even though Europe retains the largest market share by region at 28 percent, the Asia-Pacific market is expected to grow at the highest CAGR by 2022.

“This is mainly due to emerging economies, such as China, Southeast Asian countries, and India, urbanization, increase in fast food culture, and stable PEST [political, economic, social, and technological] conditions,” says Research and Markets’ report.

It’s not just regions impacting growth in fast food and quick service restaurants, according to Amy Waterman, spokeswoman for Berry Plastics, which makes both rigid and flexible plastic packaging.


“The food service segment continues to evolve as Millennials and Gen Z are rapidly redefining industry trends,” she says.

“These consumers are demanding transparency, customization, value, and an elevated dining experience. Millennial and Gen Z consumers have migrated to the fast-casual segment at an expeditious rate, helping fast casual deliver double-digit growth. While recent growth in the industry has come from fast-casual, quick-serve restaurants are rapidly adapting, driving innovation beyond the segment, and adapting to the demands of fast-casual. Additionally, grocery continues to penetrate food service with meals to go and new dine-in concepts.”

In addition to fast food and quick service restaurants, another emerging trend among Millennials is delivery. Berry’s in-house design team, Blue Clover Studios, is working to create delivery friendly packaging for that reason, Waterman notes.

The sector is segmented into packaging for alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, fruits and vegetables, dairy, bakery and confectionery, meat and poultry, and other convenience and processed foods. The alcoholic beverage segment accounted for the largest share in 2016, but the non-alcoholic beverage segment is poised to show the strongest CAGR over the forecast period. This is due in no small part to a healthy demand for energy drinks, soft drinks, and juices.

“The industry will continue to shift to smaller sizes in response to consumer health trends (water, juice, teas) and regulatory pressure on sugary drink taxes,” says Waterman. “At Berry, we plan to continue to right-size our [offerings] to better meet increased demand for smaller sizes.”

Demand has also increased for clear or transparent packaging, Waterman says.

“QSRs have started to move from paper to clear packaging, repositioning their brand in an effort to gain lost share to fast casual,” she notes. “At Berry, we have been rapidly expanding our clear cup portfolio offering, which has benefitted our customers as they introduce premium and craft beverages.”