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  • Published On : Oct 2023
  • Code : CMI6495
  • Pages : 130
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Packaging

The Retort Packaging Market size is expected to reach US$ 64.76 billion by 2030, from US$ 35.43 billion in 2023, at a CAGR of 9% during the forecast period.

Retort packaging refers to specialized high barrier packaging used for shelf stable sterilized food and beverage products. It enables aseptic processing and sterilization of pre-packaged food inside retort pouches and containers. Retort packaging provides high barrier properties to oxygen, light, and moisture and can withstand high temperatures and pressures during processing. The growing demand for shelf-stable and convenient food and beverage products is driving the market growth.

The Retort Packaging Market is segmented by product type, material type, end-use industry, retort type, and region. By product type, the pouches segment accounts for the largest market share owing to their wide usage for ready-to-eat meals, pet food, seafood etc. Pouches are lightweight, convenient and provide efficient sterilization.

Retort Packaging Market Regional Insights:

  • Asia-Pacific is the largest market for retort packaging, with a market share of over 40%. This is due to the region's large and growing population, rising disposable incomes, and increasing demand for convenient and ready-to-eat food products.
  • North America is the second-largest market for retort packaging, with a market share of over 30%. This is due to the region's high disposable incomes, growing demand for convenience foods, and increasing awareness of the health benefits of retort-packaged food products.
  • Europe is the third-largest market for retort packaging, with a market share of over 20%. The region has a strong focus on food safety and quality, which is driving the demand for retort packaging.

Figure 1. Global Retort Packaging Market Share (%), By Region, 2023


Retort Packaging Market Drivers:

  • Surging demand for packaged and ready-to-eat foods: The demand for packaged and ready-to-eat foods is increasing rapidly worldwide driven by busy lifestyles, rising middle class population, and evolving food habits. Consumers are seeking convenient, healthy and safe food products that can be consumed on-the-go. Retort pouches, trays and cartons offer efficient sterilization and extended shelf life for such foods without requiring refrigeration. Key food categories driving retort packaging include meat snacks, ready meals, pet food, baby food, soups and sauces. Retort packaging ensures product safety and quality during distribution while providing convenience to consumers.
  • Growth of online food delivery services: The rapid growth of online food delivery services such as foodtech and e-commerce is boosting the demand for retort packaging. To enable delivery of hot and chilled foods maintaining quality and safety, sturdy and high barrier retort packaging solutions are ideal. Retort pouches with insulation properties are gaining popularity. Online delivery services rely on the long shelf life offered by retort packaged foods. The rise in nuclear families, urbanization and tech-savvy millennials depending on online food delivery will continue to drive retort packaging demand.
  • Sustainability and innovation driving new product developments: Sustainability is a key priority in the packaging industry. Retort packaging manufacturers are focusing on innovative solutions that enhance recyclability, use renewable materials, and reduce carbon footprint. For instance, mono-material pouches, paperboard cans, and PET/PP trays allow easier recycling and waste management. Bio-based materials like PLA and cellulose are also being evaluated. Smart packaging features like oxygen scavenging films, leakage indication and track-and-trace solutions also provide sustainability benefits. Such innovations expand the applications of retort packaging.
  • Growing usage in emerging industries: Retort packaging is gaining prominence in emerging industries beyond food like pet food, baby food, pharmaceuticals, and beverages offering sterile solutions. Pharma companies use retort packaging for drugs, nutraceuticals and medical equipment requiring sterility. The nutraceuticals segment is also utilizing retort pouches for sports nutrition and supplements. Such applications provide significant expansion opportunities for retort packaging vendors.

Retort Packaging Market Opportunities:

  • Rising demand from developing economies: Developing nations in Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa offer strong growth opportunities for retort packaging driven by rapid urbanization, rising incomes, and changing lifestyles. Higher spending on packaged and processed foods in these regions is increasing retort packaging uptake. Key target countries include China, India, Brazil, ASEAN, GCC nations where food retail sector is booming. Local vendors are entering these markets supported by partnerships and expansions. Domestic demand offers huge potential for retort packaging penetration.
  • Entry in flexible packaging providing diversification: Many rigid packaging companies are diversifying into flexible retort pouches to capitalize on its high growth potential. Pouches offer benefits like lightweight nature, efficient sterilization, convenience, and recyclability. Large players as well smaller regional vendors are launching retort pouches to expand product portfolio beyond metal cans and containers. The expertise in sterilization and processing further helps companies to enter retort pouches segment. Partnerships with pouch manufacturers also enables market entry.
  • Rising pet food demand supporting premiumization: The pet food segment is fast emerging as a key end-use industry for retort packaging. Owners are willing to pay premium for high quality foods with attractive and convenient packaging. Retort pouches allow small quantity packaging preferred for pet food. Premiumisation through packaging innovations such as spouts, zippers and convenient shapes is gaining popularity. Natural and organic pet food products also leverage anti-counterfeiting features offered by smart retort packaging solutions.
  • Growing food processing industry and contract manufacturing: The expanding food processing and contract manufacturing sector offers substantial scope for retort packaging uptake. Food manufacturers are increasingly outsourcing production to third-party contract manufacturers. This is driving installations of large-scale, high-speed automated retort sterilizers by contract manufacturers to cater to varying customer requirements. Retort packaging suppliers provide customized solutions and services to such processors to enhance market presence.

Retort Packaging Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2022 Market Size in 2023: US$ 35.43 Bn
Historical Data for: 2018 to 2021 Forecast Period: 2023 - 2030
Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR: 9% 2030 Value Projection: US$ 64.76 Bn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa:  GCC Countries, Israel,  South Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa and Rest of Middle East
Segments covered:
  • By Product Type: Pouches, Trays, Cartons, Others
  • By Material Type: Polypropylene, Polyethylene, Aluminum, Paperboard, Nylon, Others
  • By End-use Industry: Food, Beverages, Pharmaceuticals, Others
  • By Retort Type: Hard Retort, Soft Retort 
Companies covered:

Amcor, Mondi, Sonoco, Clondalkin Group, Coveris, Huhtamaki, Winpak, Berry Plastics, Proampac, Flair Flexible Packaging, Constantia Flexibles, Tetra Pak, Sealed Air, Plastipak Packaging, Printpack, Bryce Corporation, Floeter India Retort Pouches, HPM Global, Sopakco Packaging, Fujimori Kogyo

Growth Drivers:
  • Surging demand for packaged and ready-to-eat foods
  • Growth of online food delivery services
  • Sustainability and innovation driving new product developments
  • Growing usage in emerging industries
Restraints & Challenges:
  • High capital investment requirements
  • Technical limitations of packaging materials
  • Shelf life restrictions of products

Retort Packaging Market Trends:

  • Lightweighting and downgauging of packaging materials: Lightweighting is an important trend in the retort packaging industry aimed at enhancing sustainability and reducing material costs. Manufacturers are focusing on downgauging or using thinner layers of plastic films and boards. Advances in polymer technology allow thinner PP and PET films to retain strength and barrier properties. Strategic downgauging across non-critical areas is also employed. Lightweighting also decreases transportation costs and carbon footprint.
  • Growing adoption of mono-material structures: Mono-material structures like PP and PE based pouches, PET containers are gaining preference owing to their easier recyclability and waste management. They have same polymer throughout with minimal use of adhesives or coatings. This enhances the reusability and recyclability of pouches and containers. Eco-friendliness and circular economy goals are driving adoption of mono-materials.
  • Active and intelligent packaging solutions: Active and intelligent retort packaging solutions are emerging incorporating features like oxygen scavengers, moisture control, leakage indicators etc. Oxygen absorbers enhance product stability and minimize food wastage, while leakage indication alerts consumers regarding package integrity. Time-temperature indicators monitor food freshness end-to-end. RFID and NFC enabled track-and-trace features provide supply chain transparency. Such smart packaging capabilities are attracting consumer interest.
  • Recyclable paperboard cans gaining prominence: Recyclable retort paperboard cans are rising in popularity as sustainable substitutes to steel cans. Paperboard cans offer branding, shelf appeal and sustainability. The high product visibility promotes consumer trust and engagement. Recent technology improvements have enhanced paperboard’s functional properties. Recyclable barrier coatings, circular design and renewable materials make paperboard ideal for brand owners eyeing sustainability.

Retort Packaging Market Restraints:

  • High capital investment requirements: Retort packaging lines involve high capital expenditures pertaining to filling machines, sealing equipment, retort sterilizers/autoclaves and ancillary systems. Complex production lines are required to handle diverse containers like pouches, trays, cups etc. High speed automation also calls for sizable investments. Lack of financial resources can deter entry of small and regional players. Large established companies hold advantage regarding capital investments.
  • Technical limitations of packaging materials: Retort packaging materials like plastics and paperboards have certain technical limitations inhibiting adoption. Plastics have low melting points requiring careful heat control during retorting. Paperboards need optimized coatings to prevent absorption of fats/oils and enhancement in barrier properties. Aluminum has high thermal conductivity demanding control mechanisms. New plastic grades, coatings and structural designs are being developed to address such constraints.
  • Shelf life restrictions of products: While retort packaging enhances product shelf life significantly, limitations still prevail depending on the food matrix. High moisture foods last for lower periods compared to foods with low moisture. Fat oxidation and vitamin loss during processing further reduces shelf life. Optimum thermal processes and use of oxygen scavenging films helps maximize shelf life. But inherent constraints of foods restricts widespread adoption for extremely long shelf life products.

Recent Developments:

New product launches:

  • In March 2022, Huhtamaki launched new recyclable retort packaging solution called SteamFresh for ready meals. It allows retorting and is made of mono-material PP, allowing easy recycling.
  • In January 2021, Proampac launched Clerk Retort Pouch to provide moisture and oxygen barrier for sterile packaging. It is used for pet food, seafood etc.
  • In September 2020, Sonoco launched EnviroSense sustainable temperature-controlled packaging solution for home delivery of perishable foods. It uses recyclable and compostable materials.

Acquisition and partnerships:

  • In October 2021, Proampac acquired Ultimate Group, expanding its flexible packaging capabilities.
  • In August 2020, Sonoco acquired Can Packaging, a designer and manufacturer of sustainable paperboard cans and end closures. This expanded Sonoco’s sustainable packaging solutions capabilities.
  • In November 2019, Constantia Flexibles acquired TT-print, strengthening its presence in the Russian food market.

Figure 2. Global Retort Packaging Market Share (%), By Material Type, 2023


Top Companies in Retort Packaging Market:

  • Amcor
  • Mondi
  • Sonoco
  • Clondalkin Group
  • Coveris
  • Huhtamaki
  • Winpak
  • Berry Plastics
  • Proampac
  • Flair Flexible Packaging
  • Constantia Flexibles
  • Tetra Pak
  • Sealed Air
  • Plastipak Packaging
  • Printpack
  • Bryce Corporation
  • Floeter India Retort Pouches
  • HPM Global
  • Sopakco Packaging
  • Fujimori Kogyo

Definition: Retort packaging refers to specialized high barrier packaging used for shelf stable sterilized food and beverage products. It involves processing the filled and sealed packages at high temperatures to achieve commercial sterility. Retort pouches, cartons, trays, cans and bottles made of plastic, metal and paperboard materials are commonly used. Retort packaging provides convenience to consumers by offering ready-to-eat foods with long shelf life without refrigeration. It is gaining popularity over conventional canning methods owing to light weight nature, efficiency and recyclability of plastic pouches and containers. The market is driven by the rising demand for convenient packaged foods and beverages globally.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The key factors hampering growth of the Retort Packaging industry are high cost of retort packaging and environmental concerns.

The major factors driving the Retort Packaging Market growth are increasing demand for convenience foods and ready-to-eat meals and growing awareness of the health benefits of retort-packaged food products.

The leading component segment in the Retort Packaging Market is the pouches segment. Pouches are widely used for packaging meals, sauces, pet food, seafood etc. owing to their lightweight nature, efficient sterilization and convenience.

The major players operating in the Retort Packaging Market are Amcor, Mondi, Sonoco, Clondalkin Group, Huhtamaki, Constantia Flexibles, Berry Plastics, Tetra Pak, Sealed Air, and Winpak.

Asia Pacific is expected to lead the Retort Packaging Market owing to high population, growing middle class, and rapid growth of food processing industry in countries like China, Japan, India, and ASEAN.

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