Demand for pouches in the US will grow 4.4% per year through 2020 to $10.1 billion, driven primarily by the introduction of pouch packaging into new markets and the integration of high value features, such as resealable closures and spouts, in more mature markets. Food and beverage markets comprise the vast majority of pouch demand, accounting for nearly 80% of the total in 2015. Pet food; meat, poultry, and seafood; and beverage applications will grow the fastest. However, the nonfood market will post faster growth, with increased pouch use in medical, consumer, and industrial markets boosting gains. These and other trends are presented in Pouches, a new study from Freedonia Group (, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Stand-up pouch formats will continue to grow in popularity, since the greatest growth opportunities for pouches lie in previously popular rigid packaging applications. The greatest penetration has occurred in markets that were early adopters of stand-up pouch packaging, such as beverages and pet foods. However, the fastest gains will be observed in the cheese and produce markets, which have only recently begun to transition from bags or flat pouches to this more shelf-ready package option.

Demand for flat pouches is forecast to increase 3.7% annually to $7.3 billion in 2020. Pillow pouches still lead pouch packaging overall with nearly 40% of total sales through 2020 due to the low cost and production efficiency of this format, and its entrenched position in markets such as candy and snacks. Side-seal pouches will bolster flat pouches, benefiting from the continued adoption of unit-of-use packaging in detergents, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and some food products.

Pouches with value added features will continue to stimulate growth overall, with spouted products and resealable systems posting fast gains. The increased use of pouches employing these attributes can be linked to lifestyle trends that see traditional meals replaced by snacks. Spouted pouches have seen rapid adoption in baby food and healthy snack markets, especially products marketed to children. Resealable closures for pouches also make products more convenient for those with fast-paced lifestyles because a secure fastener can allow the pouch to be stored in a bag or vehicle for easy snacking. Resealable pouches can also extend the shelf life of foods, making the products more desirable to small households.