U.S. demand for plastic containers is forecast to increase 4.9% annually to $32.4 billion in 2016, consuming 14.2 billion pounds of resin, according to a recent study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Growth will be driven by performance advantages over alternative packaging formats as well as a recovery in the broader economy following the 2007-2009 recession.
The report also notes that volume gains will lag value gains as the average weight per container unit continues to fall, reflecting preferences for small, single-serving containers in a number of food and beverage markets, and lightweighting of containers to reduce material use and enhance sustainability. Also, despite increased competition from pouches and other types of flexible packaging, these will often augment rather than replace rigid containers. PET and high density polyethylene (HDPE) are by far the primary plastic container resins, accounting for a combined 86% of demand in 2011.