Aseptic packaging market to exceed US$5bn in 2015

Growth from drug sterility needs and distribution and storage advantages in food and beverages

Demand for aseptic packaging in the US is expected significantly to outpace the overall packaging industry and is expected to grow by 8% a year to US$5.1bn in 2015, a new study predicts.

Growth will be driven by drug sterility requirements in the pharmaceutical sector and ambient distribution and storage advantages for food and beverages, says the report, Aseptic Packaging to 2015, published by US market research firm ReportsnReports based in Dallas, Texas.

The study analyses the $3.5bn US aseptic packaging industry, presenting demand data for 2000, 2005 and 2010 and forecasts for 2015 and 2020 by product (e.g. plastic bottles, vials and ampoules, prefillable syringes, bags and pouches, cartons, cups, glass bottles) and market (e.g. pharmaceuticals, beverages, food). The study also profiles 34 industry competitors, including Tetra Pak, Becton Dickinson and West Pharmaceutical Services.

Above-average growth in pharmaceutical applications will be fuelled by preferences for unit-dose and other convenient drug delivery formats, coupled with the increasing availability and consumption of biotechnology based injectable drugs and biologicals. Such drugs are usually heat sensitive, which makes the high temperatures used in terminal sterilisation processes unfeasible.

Growth will also come from greater use of advanced aseptic processes, such as blow-fill-seal (BFS).

Prefillable syringes will represent the fastest growing aseptic packaging product type by 2015, the result of further introductions of biotechnology based drugs, along with safety and convenience advantages and the prevalence of chronic conditions necessitating lifetime drug regimens.

Growth in the food and beverage sector will be supported by an expanding interest in natural and minimally processed food and beverage products because the short heating time and lower temperature of aseptic processing minimises loss of flavour and nutrients and offers extended shelf life without preservatives.

Growth in this sector will also be helped by rising consumption of beverages such as protein drinks, iced coffee and smoothies, all of which use aseptic packaging. Other factors driving demand will include ‘value-added’ beverages, such as milk-based coffee drinks in quick service restaurants and convenience stores and the rising interest in aseptic packaging due to its shelf stability.

Growth prospects for aseptic cartons will be fuelled by expanding liquid food and dairy beverage applications and rising consumption trends in ready-to-drink nutraceutical and weight loss beverages.

Other factors supporting growth will include improving aesthetics of cartons, a favourable environmental profile, the availability of cartons with closures, the quality perception of these containers, and greater openness to alternative packaging among younger consumers.

Increased adoption of aseptic filling of low-acid beverages to enable shelf-stable distribution and storage is also anticipated. Additionally, bottle opportunities will be helped by favourable consumption trends for preservative-free premium beverages, such as fruit and tea blends, protein shakes and weight loss drinks, which can experience flavour changes and nutrient loss when exposed to the high heat of hot-fill bottling.

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