Sustainable dairy packaging is nothing new. Lightweighting, or source reduction, remains an ongoing process. Container wall thickness is reduced and flexible structures are down-gauged. Source reduction not only conserves resources, but also cuts costs and carbon footprint.
Although bottles, cartons and tubs are widely used, flexible plastic packaging dominates in the global dairy industry. With a market share of more than 27%, it owns a larger share than rigid plastic, paper/paperboard, glass or metal packaging, according to Global Dairy Packaging Market 2016-2020, a report from London-based Technavio.
Maximizing product protection, freshness, convenience and shelf appeal govern packaging decisions about dairy foods. These goals are driving interest in aseptic filling, in-mold labeling, single-serving sizes and functional features.
Rigid packaging is a staple in the dairy case, but what’s stocked today differs from what consumers put in their shopping carts a few years ago. Containers have been lightweighted, sometimes with the help of in-mold labels.
It’s not surprising many dairy products launch in flexible packaging. It’s one of the fastest growing packaging formats in the United States, according to the Flexible Packaging Association, Annapolis, Md.
With a projected compound annual growth rate of 2.9% through 2022, demand for food packaging reflects growth in the U.S. food industry overall, according to Food Packaging Trends & Advances, a report published in September 2015 by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, Reston, Va. Globally, growth is even stronger.
A 14-ounce squeezable tube allows consumers to dispense sour cream precisely. A new sterilization process for cold-fill aseptic products eliminates the need for irradiation, hot-filling or post-pasteurization.