By 2011, food and beverage consumption in a foodservice context in China was double that in the US, almost 200m tonnes versus just under 100m tonnes, the report claims.
Despite this, the US is currently the largest consumer of foodservice packaging, at 198bn packages compared to 158bn in 2011, according to 'The future of foodservice packaging and disposables to 2016' .
However, Smithers Pira states that “China is forecast to overtake the US by 2020”. And, although Japan’s foodservice packaging market was ahead of China in 2011, the company predicts that it will surpass Japan too within a shorter timescale.
‘Long-term growth potential’
In addition, it adds: “The US is also the largest market for disposables [packaging] and this is expected to increase by 17% between 2011 and 2016. However, China’s disposables market is growing at a faster rate and has long-term growth potential.”
The largest global share of food consumption in a foodservice context is fresh food, at 226m tonnes and the category is set to surpass 260m tonnes within four years.
Other key sectors include dairy products and dry food, while the biggest beverage areas are beer and cider, and carbonated soft drinks. All are set to achieve strong growth in the next four years.
Bags and sachets and plastic bottles
Turning to types of foodservice packaging, bags and sachets and plastic bottles were the two biggest categories in 2011, with the former just beating the latter in volume.
Smithers Pira predicts strong growth from both packaging formats in the next four years, with bags and sachets maintaining their volume lead.
The market analyst claims the performance of glass, the next biggest packaging market by volume, is rocky, with market volumes actually declining from 2006-2011, but more growth predicted in the next four years. It maintains volumes will reach 60m tonnes by 2016.
It also forecasts growth for metal cans, the next biggest category, claiming the market will reach volumes of 40m tonnes within four years. The next biggest markets by volume (in order), wrapping film, film lids and plastic trays, will all also see strong growth in that period, Smithers Pira claims.