Thin Wall Plastic Containers: Functionality and Freshness a Key Recipe for Success

July 2017

At 222 billion units in 2016, thin wall plastic container volumes are predicted to rise in global retail packaging by a CAGR of 2% to 2020. Aside from clear prospects for expansion as yoghurt, cheese and soft drinks sales rise in Asia Pacific and Latin America, the pack type also has much to offer brand owners across the world in creating a better consumer experience. Thin wall containers can be used for their portability as snacking grows, ease meal preparation and also convey product freshness

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Thin wall plastic containers to benefit from rising demand in food staples and soft drinks

As fifth largest pack type in global retail packaging in 2016, thin wall plastic containers is also set to grow further by a CAGR of 2% to 2020. The biggest volume gains will be realised as consumers in Asia Pacific and Latin America switch from loose to packaged food and drinks; particularly in dairy, water, processed and baby foods but also coffee pods and wet pet food.

Packaging functionality is one of thin wall containers’ major USPs; starting with portability

With growing snacking behaviour, thin wall containers increasingly appeal for their suitability for consumption on the go. As consumers are also more and more concerned about calorie intake, the pack type conveys greater portion control and helps turn dairy products into healthy snacks.

Heat resistance, shaping and closure innovation enable easier meal preparation

In processed foods such as meat, seafood and ready meals, thin wall plastic containers offer to ease meal preparation. Microwavability gives the pack type a perceived advantage over metal food cans. Product preservation can also be enhanced through pack sizing, multi-compartment design or resealability. Safety is also key in prepared baby food.

Thin wall containers’ assimilation with product freshness is a tool for success in foods

As well as functionality, thin wall plastic containers can also help address the increasingly important need for brand owners to induce among consumers a perception of higher quality. Product freshness matters greatly in foods and wet pet foods; which sometimes favours thin wall containers.

The ultimate goal is to create an enhanced consumer experience

Alongside product freshness, thin wall containers grow in appeal as a way to position a product as healthier, particularly as demand for more natural/ organic varieties increases in Western Europe and North America. This can be achieved with smaller pack sizes deemed more premium and with transparent tubs.



Global Overview

Consumer expenditure growth drives pack volume demand
Thin wall containers among most common retail pack types
Food and drinks pivotal to thin wall container demand; led by dairy
Strong role of thin wall containers in key growth categories
Thin wall containers compete on functionality and perception

Raising Pack Functionality

Growing snacking behaviour calls for more suitable pack solutions
Health drive redefines snacking… and fuels packaging innovation
Thin wall containers’ lead in soft drinks in Indonesia under threat
Pack size matters in yoghurt; usability on the go a growing element
Case study: Turning yoghurt into a practical and healthy snack
Portability exemplified in Brazil as yoghurt turned into snack to go
Breakfast occasion potential for yoghurt pot novelties in Ukraine
Drinking yoghurt cups copying takeaway coffee target young adults
Versatility of cheese spurs wide array of opportunities across regions
Soft cheese: Product preservation through tub resealability …
…but also through portioned containers
France an “experience lab” for container innovation in cheese
In baby food, usability offered by thin wall containers a nd pouches
Microwavability edges it over metal in shelf stable foods
Pack sizing and shaping come handy in cooking ingredients

Improving Product Perception

Rise of dairy in Asians’ diet key growth driver for thin wall containers
Health and “natural” claims spur pack innovation for differentiation
Ambient foods suffer due to lacking product freshness perception
Raising freshness and quality image in frozen and chilled segments
Pet humanisation in the US benefits wet pet foods in tubs
Quality image conveyed through tub innovation in US wet cat food
Thin wall plastic containers ’ sustainability image can be improved


Leverage thin wall containers’ ability to raise consumer experience


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