Optimization of Pack Size and Reusable Materials Drive Growth

June 14, 2023

The Reusable Food Packaging Market in Europe is experiencing significant growth, with a projected value of €11.1 billion in 2019 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4%. The market’s expansion can be attributed to the increasing focus on pack size optimization, the adoption of reusable materials, the expansion of reusable-as-a-service models in packaged food delivery, and the growing emphasis on a zero-waste lifestyle. These factors have led to a rising demand for returnable or reusable packaging solutions, driving the overall market growth.

The European Union and North American nations are leading the way in reducing plastic waste by placing greater emphasis on the zero-waste concept in packaging. Stringent restrictions on single-use plastic food packaging, especially for take-out meals, have further fueled the market growth. Additionally, the use of certain plastic ingredients in packaging materials has improved recyclability, contributing to the market’s expansion. The demand for flexible food-grade packaging solutions has also been on the rise, along with advancements in recyclable plastic products and a growing focus on reducing overall plastic usage.

One notable trend driving market growth is the increasing adoption of reusable-as-a-service models in the food packaging sector. Start-up companies like GoBox and Ozarka have introduced reusable takeout containers at affordable prices, which customers are willing to pay for. These companies have implemented a loop system where containers are thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and reused using certified food-grade reusable or recyclable materials. This zero-waste revolution has created a thriving reusable-as-a-service business, reinforcing the market’s growth.

The relevance of reusable food packaging extends beyond environmental concerns. Industries reliant on effective and undamaged distribution of packaged foods, such as the online food delivery sector, benefit greatly from reusable packaging solutions. Protecting packaged food from tampering or damage is crucial for maintaining customer trust and ensuring food safety.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to the industry, the emphasis on the safety of packaged food has prompted the adoption of effective sterilization and sanitization measures in food delivery and processing chains. Alongside disposable packaging, reusable packaging has gained importance, fostering the potential for market growth in the near future.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Innovative companies are shifting from the conventional take, fill, and waste paradigm to a zero-waste model, reducing operational costs and continuous expenses associated with new packaging.
  • Start-ups like Eco-Takeouts provide reusable takeout containers to cafeterias in companies, hospitals, and universities, while DeliverZero in Brooklyn, New York, uses recyclable containers for food delivery. Innovative restaurants like Canteen by Dig in New York offer reusable to-go containers in exchange for a monthly fee.
  • The bakery and confectionery segment holds the largest market share of 22.7% in 2019, with a fast growth rate of 6.7% during the forecast period. The food and beverage industry extensively uses reusable packaging for transporting different food-grade products to suppliers.
  • Environmental regulations and small manufacturers’ concerns regarding the cost-to-benefit ratio may pose challenges to market growth.

Key players in the Reusable Food Packaging Market include Amcor, Sealed Air Corporation, BASF, WestRock, Evergreen Packaging, Rehrig Pacific Company, Swedbrand Groups, IPL Plastics, Vetropack Holding, and Schütz GmbH & Co. KGaA, among others.

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