Shelf stable fruit and vegetables had a very good year in 2020, as demand rose substantially in this year for shelf stable vegetables, which dominates sales of shelf stable fruit and vegetables, and shelf stable beans. This therefore boosted the packaging unit volumes of metal food cans and glass jars, the two main pack types.
Although metal food cans remains the dominant pack type in shelf stable fruit and vegetables, the latter part of the review period saw plastic pouches emerge strongly in shelf stable vegetables and beans. The lighter weight of plastic pouches in comparison with metal food cans means that this pack type is increasingly favoured for larger quantities of shelf stable fruit and vegetables, with the 700g size leading sales in shelf stable fruit and vegetables and the 560g plastic pouch registering strong growth in shelf stable beans.
One trend noted in processed fruit and vegetables packaging, especially in the earliest days of the pandemic, during 2020 was a shift away from smaller pack sizes and towards larger packs, especially in shelf stable fruit and vegetables. The main motivation for this was the desire among consumers to minimise the risk of coming into contact with the COVID-19 virus by reducing the frequency with which they visit supermarkets and other types of grocery stores.
After losing share to glass jars for a number of years, until the latter part of the review period, it is expected that metal food cans will continue taking back share in shelf stable tomatoes in the coming years. Metal food cans are regaining their popular in this category thanks to being light in weight, unlike glass jars, which are heavy and prone to breakage.
The forecast period is expected to see a shift back towards smaller pack sizes across all categories of processed fruit and vegetables. While larger pack sizes came to the fore during the pandemic, particularly in 2020, as consumers sought to stockpile non-perishable essential foodstuffs and reduce the frequency with which they needed to go shopping, the forecast period is expected to see a return to smaller pack sizes.
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