The U.S. prepared meals market, one of the largest in the world and a leader in per capita consumption, is maintaining strong growth, resulting in increased opportunities for packaging solutions that satisfy consumer demands in terms of convenience, ease of use, storage and selection. According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), the rise in the number of single-person households, increased affluence and busy lives have combined to create strong demand for single-serving prepared meal packages, as well as those that may be resealed for future use. Within the category of prepared foods, single-serve frozen meals continue to maintain the largest market share at 53 percent, followed by multi-serve frozen meals, which represent a 21.7 percent share.
IRI data also show that within the overall meals category, frozen meals have the highest household penetration rate with 73 percent of households having purchased single-serve or multi-serve frozen meals within the past six months and 48 percent have purchased some type of side dishes. The convenience and versatility of these items is a prime driver in their high household purchase.
Brand owners and manufacturers alike appreciate the fact that products in flexible packaging require less material to produce, are more cost effective to transport and are more space efficient both on store shelves and in the home. Aluminum, the material once considered to be the ‘king of containers’ for food packaging has been ‘dethroned’ thanks to a great number of technology advancements in flexible packaging materials. The highly adaptable characteristics of currently available films have led to the ability to consume food from the same package in which it was heated. In other words, the stand-up pouch becomes the serving container.
Keeping pace with this trend, single and multi-use flexible packaging with superior barrier protection properties, effective and easy-to-use closures and tolerance to high temperatures of microwave ovens are forecast to continue to take market share. Growing replacement of rigid and semi-rigid containers with flexible packaging that offers sustainability advantages and environmental responsibility in consumer food product categories further align pouches with consumer preferences and behaviors.
This trend is not only on display in supermarket aisles, but also online with a new generation of innovative concepts such as Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plated. These direct-to-consumer meal services provide customers with the highest quality ingredients in exact, pre-proportioned amounts. As part of the meal delivered to the customer, many of the meal components are typically packaged in single-use flexible pouches, sized precisely to the varying amounts of ingredients, including spices, herbs, condiments, grains and others.
In adapting to these diverse in-aisle and online meal options and consumer purchasing patterns, today’s brand owners and marketers have a wide choice of flexible packaging films and formats that meet the precise requirements of their food products. For example, new films and laminates feature:
- More efficient barrier properties that protect the ingredients
- The ability to withstand greater variations in temperature during use
- More effective closure systems for packages requiring repeated opening and closing
- The adaptability to meet the demands of the highest quality food products
LPS Industries, an ISO certified flexible packaging manufacturer specializing in custom manufactured packaging solutions, provides packaging specifically designed for each individual product and ingredient. By applying their knowledge and experience to deliver packaging with exactly the right combination of protective properties, we help companies ensure the freshness and shelf life they promise.
As a vertically integrated manufacturer, LPS Industries controls all aspects of production from printing through laminating, slitting and converting. A complete in house graphics department means we can support your design needs in a timely fashion and robust QA and QR programs means your products will be manufactured with the consistency, dependability and quality you deserve. Vertical integration also means that controlling the end-to-end production allows us to be responsive to timing requirements driven by market conditions.
Give us a call and let us help find a flexible packaging solution that’s just right for you and your product.