Invented in 1978 as a way to pack military food rations, retort packaging has slowly found its place as a mainstay in the global food and beverages industry. It is primarily manufactured using metal-plastic laminates that are highly flexible and are able to sustain the high temperatures and pressure related to common sterilization processes. The food inside may be cooked or raw, depending on its use. After the food is sealed inside the retort pouch, it will undergo sterilization inside a retort machine or an autoclave while the food inside is cooked through the heat and pressure. Retort pouches have so far been a very common sight in the military in the form of MREs and are especially useful in packaging foods to be consumed on space expeditions. They slowly made their way into the commercial food and beverages fields in the form of camping food packaging and even on beverage brands such as Capri Suns.
From a financial view, the global retort packaging market is expected to be evaluated at US$13 bn by the end of 2016. It is projected at a healthy CAGR of 7.5% within a forecast period from 2016 to 2024 and may reach US$24.70 bn by the end of 2024. Numerous facts and figures surround this summation of the global retort packaging market and its current revenue generation capabilities. The key factors responsible for this market’s current growth rate can be understood by gaining the answer to three critical questions, as answered by Transparency Market Research:
Why Should F&B Manufacturers Prefer Retort Pouches?
The simplest answer to the above question is a twofold explanation between convenience and ease of availability. Upon invention and its inception in niche fields, retort packaging has been a huge success due to its ability to be flexible and highly protective of its contents. Their light weight and smaller pouch size for the same content in comparison to canned foods is a huge plus point for the global retort packaging market as it has been visible so far in the defense sectors of the world. They have almost completely replaced tins in these areas due to their advantages, but have only gained commercial awareness and popularity over the past decade or so.
Why is Retort Packaging Gaining Commercial Success Only Recently?
The key factor driving the global retort packaging market at the moment is the growing need for feasible packaging methods and materials. The global consumption of food has increased drastically over the past decade, especially in the case of processed foods, convenience foods, and organic foods. Conventional packaging such as simple polymer pouches and tin cans are not going to provide a sustainable option, a fact that is becoming increasingly apparent as time progresses. Consumers – especially the growing urban population – are demanding a large quantity of processed and convenience foods owing to their busy lifestyles, and retort packaging seems to be the best possible solution to distribute food safely at the moment.
The overall savings made by a manufacturers for using retort packaging come from the fact that these pouches can help save space during distribution, are not as frail in handling as other flexible packaging options, can withstand the high heat and pressure necessary to cook the food as well sterilize the packaging surface, and significantly improve the lifespan of a sealed food product.
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Where are the Manufacturers of Retort Packaging Headed to Currently?
Geographically speaking, the retort packaging market is currently surging in Asia Pacific, which is considered to be a highly promising region for a lot of food and beverage sector activities. It had already grabbed the leading share in revenue for the global retort packaging market, and an overall 34.0% expected to be grabbed in 2016. This region is showing a CAGR of 7.6% from 2016 to 2024, a very positive indication for globally prominent manufacturers of retort packaging.
Europe and North America are not too far behind and are likely to show a reasonably positive growth rate in retort packaging. The Middle East and Latin America, on the other hand, have not yet shown many signs of accepting retort packaging of a large scale and are likely to collectively take up a revenue share of a little over 9.0% in 2016.