A new Freedonia Group analysis projects retail-ready boxes to be one of the fastest growing packaging types used in the fresh produce industry through 2024, with the strongest increases anticipated in the $3.5 billion fresh vegetable and salad packaging market.
Though traditional corrugated boxes will remain the dominant box types used in fresh vegetable and salad applications, retail-ready boxes continue to increase their share of demand based on their added convenience – providing the benefits of prepackaged produce for retailers, along with the selection of bulk produce bins, which consumers often prefer. Highlighted below are four key produce applications where use of these value-added boxes is growing.
Tomatoes will remain the largest market for retail-ready produce boxes
Tomatoes will remain by far the largest application for retail-ready boxes used in fresh vegetable applications and comprise the largest single share of sales gains through 2024, growing 5.0% annually. Modular retail-ready boxes are often preferred in these applications because they showcase the tomatoes and feature attractive graphics.
Salad continues to be key outlet for retail-ready boxes
Though much smaller than the tomato market, salad will remain the second leading market for retail-ready boxes, with 5.5% annual growth anticipated through 2024, as use of retail-ready packaging increases with bagged salad mixes, as well as salads packaged in clamshells or other plastic containers.
Penetration increases in the potato market
Though also from a small base compared to tomatoes, demand for retail-ready boxes in the sizable potato packaging market is forecast to rise 5.4% per year through 2024, as use of retail-ready boxes expands for both loose and bagged potatoes.
Fastest growth expected for smaller volume vegetables
The fastest growth in retail-ready box demand is expected for carrots, mushrooms, onions, and smaller volume vegetables such as sweet potatoes, bolstered by the increasing popularity of modular produce boxes in these applications due to their convenience. Though from a small bases, retail-ready box sales in these applications is projected to exceed 6% annually through 2024, with double-digit percentage growth expected for mushrooms.
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