The lack of an established chilled distribution chain in many markets will also boost growth, as ambient shelf stable products can achieve better distribution than chilled products.
The world market for aseptically packed products amounted to 123bn litres in 269bn packs during 2011, according to the Global Aseptic Packaging report from food and drinks consultancy Zenith International and packaging experts Warrick Research.
Volumes have grown by just over 5% a year since 2008, with South/South East Asia achieving the fastest rise of 22% a year.
By 2016, Zenith and Warrick estimate that the world market for aseptic packaging will reach 153bn litres using 333bn packs.
The majority of additional demand will come from South/South East Asia and China, where growth is forecast at 11% a year and 3.5% a year respectively.
Dairy and beverage
Overall growth rates in dairy products and beverages will be similar with Asian countries showing between 5-10% per annum in the next five years.
White drinking milk accounts for 39% of aseptically packed products with beverages responsible for 37% and other dairy or food products making up the remainder.
David Warrick, director of Warrick Research, told FoodProductionDaily.com aseptic packaging competes in dairy with pasteurised (and ESL) products and with in-pack sterilised products.
“In the white milk sector, aseptically filled UHT products account for about 36% of total demand; the share of aseptic packaging will increase in the next four years, growing at a forecast 3.8% p.a., compared to 2.2% p.a. for the total white milk market.”
This reflects strong growth in the milk market in many developing countries, said Warrick.
“In the beverage sector, aseptic packaging competes with hot filling and the use of preservatives. Aseptic filling accounts for almost 50% of total output.
“After a period of rapid growth in the use of aseptic filling, growth slowed in the past four years, as many companies opted to retain less technically demanding hot filling methods.
“In the next four years, aseptic filling is forecast to gain share in the total beverage market, assuming the world economic position improves, in particular in western markets.”
The report noted the packaging format was developed and established by Tetra Pak, who are still the dominant supplier, but are facing a growing threat from third party suppliers of aseptic carton board, in particular from Chinese companies.
Aseptic filling has yet to make a significant impact in food markets, but there are established niche applications such as sauces, tomato products and baby food.
Limited success in food
Esther Renfrew, market intelligence director at Zenith International, told this site: “Aseptic packaging has had only limited success in food markets, due partly to technical difficulties in processing and filling particulate products which have individual and varied handling requirements.
“There are now established markets for soups, sauces, tomato products, baby foods, and fruit ingredients for food service.
“It is unlikely in the next five years that aseptic packaging will be used on a large commercial scale for food products such as ready meals or meat products, which contain large particulates.”