Foods that are retailed and stored in normal room temperature are called ambient food. This type of food has a longer shelf-life and fights harmful micro organisms with advanced heat treatment. Shelf life is the time span of a food for which it can be kept under required conditions keeping in mind optimum quality and safety. It begins from manufacturing and depends on packaging type, ingredients, storage conditions and manufacturing process among others. Generally, the shelf life of a food product is determined during the manufacturing process. Manufacturers determine the extrinsic and intrinsic of the food products that affect its quality and safety. These include manufacturing process, ingredients used, packaging type and storage conditions among others. Two major processes for ambient food packaging are sterilization and pasteurization. Increasing competition for chill cabinet space signifies the increasing demand of food packaging that provides longer shelf life. Increasing trend towards sustainable packaging products is significant in case of ambient food packaging. Different food packaging and preservation processes are used to increase product shelf life. Increasing the product’s acidity, decreasing its water content and using air tight envelope can increase the product’s shelf life without changing its texture and taste.
The ambient food packaging market can be segmented by containers type and types of food. In case of food types, the market can be segmented into baby food, ready meals, seafood, condiment sauces, soups, tea and coffee, fruits and vegetables and pet food and others. On the basis of containers, the market can be segmented into pots, trays, cups, bowls and others. Ambient packaging offers extended food shelf life compared to other types of packaging which enables storing at room temperature. Increasing demand for food safety, attractive packaging style and consumer convenience among others are some of the major factors driving the growth of ambient food packaging market, globally.
Food items such as bakery and confectionery products, daily meal items, dairy products and packaged meat among others get contaminated if they are not consumed within a month from packaging. This creates financial losses for retailers. To overcome the issue, food packaging manufacturers developed ambient packaging concept that maintains product quality and extends the product shelf life. There is a shifting trend towards ambient food packaging among consumers as ambient food packaging offers enhanced food quality (in terms of freshness, flavor and color).
The ambient food packaging manufacturers are continuously involved in new packaging processes that extend product shelf life and prevent contamination. Food packaging can be done in cans, cups, sachets, tubes and bottles according to customer convenience and product requirement. Ambient food packaging manufacturers have also started offering services such as injection molding, thermoforming and blow molding which is also fueling the demand for ambient packaging. High costing in case of ambient packaging is a restraint for the growth of the overall market.
By geography, the market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa and Latin America. Asia-Pacific leads the market growth owing to the increasing demand for packaged food coupled with growing population and growing disposable income. It is estimated that Europe and North America will hold the second and third position in terms of revenue in the global ambient food packaging market. It is also anticipated that the growth will be dominated by the emerging economies. Major players in ambient food packaging market include RPC Group, Amcor Limited, FFP Packaging Solutions Ltd., Tetra Pak, Rexam, Mondi, SIG Combiblog Obeikan, DuPont, Ampac, Marsden and KM Packaging among others. These companies engage in developing new packaging components that prevent food contamination and extend shelf life.