Factors such as changing consumer lifestyle retort pouch and preferences; growing middle class; and working population, are expected to drive the demand for packaged foods, thereby also acting as key drivers for the growth of the retort pouch industry.The growing demand for packaging solutions that can extend the shelf-life of various food products, such as meat, seafood, poultry, baby food, and pet food, is further likely to augment the demand for retort packaging over the forecast period. Furthermore, growing demand for pouches owing to their lightweight, convenience, and portability, as compared to rigid packaging products is further expected to have a positive impact on market growth.The U.S. accounted for the largest share of the North American market in 2018.
Polypropylene material segment accounted for the largest revenue share in the U.S. market and is expected to maintain its dominance over the forecast period. The aluminum foil segment is anticipated to be among the faster-growing materials during the forecast period.Retorting is a process in which the prepared food that can either be semi-cooked or raw is sealed in a retort pouch. This retort pouch is then heated to a temperature usually ranging between 116°C to 121°C under high pressure for several minutes inside an autoclave or retort machine. This, in turn, leads to the killing of the microorganisms, thereby avoiding the spoilage of food and extending its shelf life.Retort pouches have a high surface to volume ratio owing to which it takes less time to cook the food as compared to metal cans. Also, the heat exposure to food is reduced in retort pouches, which further assists in retaining the nutritional value and taste of the food contained.In addition, retort pouches have a larger package space owing to which attractive graphics can be printed on the surface.
Based on material, the retort pouch market has been segmented into polypropylene, polyethylene, polyamide, PET, aluminum foil, and others. Retort packaging is generally manufactured from either from three or four-ply laminates with the inner layer made from polypropylene followed by an optional polyamide layer, a barrier layer of aluminum foil and an outer layer of PET.Polypropylene material dominated the global market in 2018, accounting for over of the market revenues, and is expected to continue its dominance over the forecast period. Polypropylene acts as a sealing layer and provides flexibility and strength to the pouch.Polypropylene is a tough and robust plastic material that assists in retaining the freshness of various food items owing to which it is widely used in manufacturing retort pouches.
Polyamide offers properties such as puncture resistance, abrasion resistance heat stabilization, dimensional stability, and high stiffness thereby increasing the overall strength of the retort pouch. Aluminum foil, on the other hand, acts as a barrier layer and protects the pouch from odors, light, moisture, and gases. This material is expected to be among the faster-growing segments of the market, projected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 8% during the forecast period.PET is generally used as an outer layer in retort pouches. It provides strength and also acts as an excellent printable surface owing to which it is widely used in making retort pouches. Moreover, properties including high strength, lightweight, non-reactive, flexibility, and recyclability among others make PET a suitable choice as a packaging material.