Plastic Containers to Outperform All Other Fresh Produce Packaging Types Through 2024

CLEVELAND, April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A new Freedonia Group analysis forecasts US demand for plastic containers in fresh produce applications…

CLEVELAND, April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A new Freedonia Group analysis forecasts US demand for plastic containers in fresh produce applications to rise 5.0% per year through 2024, outpacing all other commonly used types of produce packaging:

  • Clamshells and other plastic containers continue to supplant commodity bags and pillow pouches due to their good protective and display properties, especially with ready-to-eat (RTE) foods such as salads and pre-cut/pre-sliced fruits and vegetables.
  • As such, increasing sales of RTE salads and pre-cut produce such as apple slices, melon spears, and carrot sticks among both consumers and foodservice establishments will boost demand for clamshells, tubs, cups, and other rigid plastic containers.

Additionally, sales will be bolstered by rebounding berry production – the leading application for produce plastic containers – after the declines recorded during the 2014-2019 historical period. However, production declines in other key fruit and vegetable types, including the sizable tomato segment, will limit even stronger gains.

Growing Fresh Produce Applications for Plastic Containers

Among applications, the strongest growth opportunities through 2024 are expected in lettuce and newer niche vegetables such as small or exotic potato varieties – which are increasingly packaged in clamshells rather than bags for aesthetics – while grapes, citrus, and sliced apples will be the fastest growing fresh fruit applications.

Nevertheless, fresh berries will remain the leading application for plastic containers and account for the largest single share of produce plastic container demand gains through 2024, boosted by rebounding berry output, as well as by berries’ reputation as being particularly nutritious “superfoods”.

Use of plastic containers is mature in the berry industry compared to other fresh produce applications, in large part due to the greater level of protection berries require during shipping due to their fragility; rigid containers prevent berries from bruising and allow the fruit to be stacked on store displays.

Want to Learn More?

Fresh Produce Plastic Containers is now available from the Freedonia Group.

This study analyzes the US market for plastic containers used in produce applications (i.e., fresh, minimally processed fruits and vegetables, salad mixes, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables). Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 are presented for produce packaging demand in current US dollars (including inflation) by product and application.

Products covered include the following:

  • clamshells
  • tubs, cups, and bowls
  • other plastic containers (e.g., square and rectangular two-piece containers, pails, domed containers, lidded buckets, shaped containers)

For products packaged in combination-type formats – such as a salad bowl containing separate smaller cups for add-ins or condiments – the value of each type of plastic container is counted separately and included within each respective product segment.

Demand is also discussed by produce applications:

  • fresh vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, onions, carrots, mushrooms celery, cabbage, peppers)
  • fresh fruit (e.g., berries, apples, melons, citrus, grapes)
  • salad

About the Freedonia Group – The Freedonia Group, a division of, is the premier international industrial research company, providing our clients with product analyses, market forecasts, industry trends, and market share information. From one-person consulting firms to global conglomerates, our analysts provide companies with unbiased, reliable industry market research and analysis to help them make important business decisions. With over 100 studies published annually, we support over 90% of the industrial Fortune 500 companies. Find off-the-shelf studies at or contact us for custom research: +1 440.842.2400.

Press Contact:

Corinne Gangloff

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SOURCE The Freedonia Group