By 2025, the cold chain packaging market is expected to reach $8.66 billion due to increased worldwide demand for perishable goods and health supplies. Some of this surge can be attributed to online food purchases, which are expected to exceed $100 billion by 2022. There will also be significant growth in cold chain packaging for temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals.
When broken down by region, the Asia-Pacific region is forecasted to lead consumption of isothermal packaging with approximately 35% of the market share, followed closely by North America and Europe. South America will account for approximately 10% of market share from 2018-2025. The growth rate of cold chain packaging consumption in North America is expected to stay relatively stable between 2018-2025 at approximately 6.8% growth per year.
If one industry stands out as a leader in the consumption of cold chain packaging, it is the online grocery market. From 2016 to 2017 online grocery sales grew 26.5% in a single year, compared to the entire grocery market, which grew a total of 3% year over year. Top online grocery retailers in the U.S. include Amazon.com (38.2%), Walmart/Sam’s Club (22.6%), Costco Wholesale (8.8%) and Other 1000 Category Retailers (24.4%).
More shoppers are trying online-only grocers every year. Shoppers of Gen X and younger are the most likely to shop online for groceries. About 40% of Millennials have purchased groceries online in the last 12 months and about 30% of Gen Xers report doing so. As the percentage of shoppers trying online grocery shopping continues to increase, the demand for cold chain packaging will increase as well.
Going hand in hand with online grocery is the specialty foods market. Sales of specialty foods rose 15% between 2015 and 2016 and they continue to be a large market for online sales. The rise in “snacking behavior” in Gen Y and Millennials further bolsters the specialty foods market. Reports indicate that direct-to-consumer sites and third-party e-commerce platforms account for 36% of specialty food and beverage sales.
Another large player in the cold chain packaging industry is Pharma. Pharmaceutical Commerce’s Annual Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook estimates that the cold chain packaging/instrumentation sector is worth $4.4 billion. Pharm will continue to grow and expand its reach as more temperature-sensitive drugs are developed and the industry will be on the lookout for smart packaging technologies that can help track and monitor drugs throughout shipment.