The bakery industry is among the most prominent food sectors worldwide. Given the widespread preference for baked goods such as bread and cakes, the production of these items is witnessing exponential growth. In India, for instance, the production of bakery products such as biscuits, cakes, buns, bread, and pastries among others, is estimated to be over 3 million tons annually.
A majority of bakery products produced at both retail and wholesale levels have a considerably short shelf life at ambient temperatures. These foods a susceptible to spoilage due to contaminants like mold, which arises mainly from fluctuations in storage temperature and excessive water activity. One of the key ways to avoid these impacts is the use of proper bakery packaging.
In order to mitigate the risks of spoilage therefore, the bakery packaging market is making significant strides towards developing novel and innovative solutions in recent years.
The growing prevalence of frozen food products will drive the need for more robust packaging for bakery items
In recent years, the prevalence of frozen goods has seen a significant rise, mainly due to the extended shelf life they offer. Furthermore, as the use of devices like microwave ovens grows more popular, the introduction of frozen baked goods in the market has also grown exponentially, thereby propelling the need for robust packaging solutions.
One of the most promising baked food packaging solutions in recent times is the development of Modified Atmosphere Packaging or MAP, which uses a mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide in the gas atmosphere to offer a suitable bakery packaging solution for frozen goods.
Baked items such as baguettes, pita, bagels, tortilla wraps, and other forms of bread are the most suitable items for MAP, as they have low water content, and are susceptible to spoilage due to microbes like mold.
The use of CO2 in modified atmosphere packaging solutions is also gaining rapid traction, as it helps to make the packaging easy to test for discrepancies like leaks.
Improper use and high contamination risks associated with baked goods packaging may impede market growth
The bakery packaging industry could face certain roadblocks to its growth, owing to potential product contamination stemming from foreign objects associated with packaging bags. Stringent control and safety protocols are required in order to mitigate the risk of these situations.
Furthermore, plastic packaging for bakery items is highly susceptible to product contamination, especially in areas like flour bins, scaling equipment, etc. Also, improper use and disposal of bakery packaging materials could lead to a higher risk of cross-contamination.
Use of flexible packaging emerges as a key trend for the bakery packaging market
Flexible packaging is gaining massive ground in the modern era, as an ideal solution for the transportation and storage of various bread and other bakery goods. These packaging solutions demonstrate significant benefits such as malleability, convenience, and a higher product-to-package ratio as compared to its counterparts, especially for storage on pantry shelves and countertops.
Flexible packaging, such as bags, pouches, wrappers, form-fill pouches, and others also offer many value-added benefits like lightweight, low transportation costs, and smaller carbon footprint, which has led to its rising adoption in the packaging of bakery items.
To that end, TIPA, a sustainable packaging developer announced the launch of a novel bio-based and compostable flexible packaging in the United Kingdom. While it demonstrates similar properties to regular plastic packagings, such as durability, impermeability, and transparency, TIPA packaging is able to biologically decompose in 180 days, becoming a soil fertilizer, similar to an orange peel. TIPA’s packaging solutions, which are printable on both sides, as well as sealable, are suited to the packaging of bakery items, fresh produce, and other such products.
Evolution of packaging materials and strong sustainability efforts are expected to generate lucrative growth avenues for the bakery packaging industry
Packaging trends have been evolving consistently over the years, with the emergence of custom baked goods packaging becoming a key contributor to bakery packaging market growth in the years ahead.
Key players in the industry are working towards developing innovative packaging solutions, in order to help bakery producers improve and maintain optimum food quality, enhance sales, whilst ensuring sustainability through reduced waste levels.
For instance, UK-based company Marks & Spencer have recently unveiled 100% widely recyclable packaging for its in-store bakery items. The novel packaging solution, which is made from paper with small plastic windows or translucent paper, can be collected for recycling purposes by more than 75% of the authorities across the UK. This innovation was part of M&S’s long-term target of making its packaging recyclable by the year 2022.
Rising demand for packaged foods in the COVID-19 period and the subsequent need for efficient baked goods packaging solutions
The global health crisis caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus in the past year has led to worldwide closures of bars, restaurants, and myriad other public food establishments, in compliance with social distancing directives. This has, in turn, increased the preference for pre-packaged bakery products, resulting in a significant shift in bakery packaging industry trends.
One of these shifts is the renewed demand for plastic packaging, which has raised concerns pertaining to the long-term effect of this packaging on the environment.
In response to these concerns, industry players such as Novolex company Waddington Europe have introduced rPET rigid packaging solutions, which allow retailers and customers to gain optimum baked good quality whilst ensuring sustainability. The company’s novel Eco Blend Pura range, which includes recyclable, 100% PCR (post-consumer recycled) rigid trays, for instance, is designed to be an ideal bakery packaging solution for the circular economy concept while catering to the heightened demand for packaged foods during the pandemic.
Bakery goods and other snack foods have specific storage requirements that are addressed by the evolution of novel packaging solutions in recent years, in the form of laminates, thermoformed trays, and films. Since the demand for packaging solutions with advantageous properties such as printability, machinability, and cost-effectiveness is set to witness continuous growth in the modern era, the bakery packaging industry is bound to follow a positive growth trajectory in the years to come.