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In today’s fast-paced life, people are increasingly looking for food options that are quick and easy. The demand for clean labeled packaged products and the need to store food for longer has resulted in an increase in the demand for canned food worldwide. Owing to this busy lifestyle, most Americans too are turning to canned food as a source of their daily consumption of produce. Among Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Africa, North America is expected to emerge as the dominant market for canned food in the near future.
Here are some key insights into the canned food usage in the US obtained from various research and survey results.
Growth in the canned food market
The global canned food market was valued at 91.90 billion USD in 2019 and by 2027, it is expected to reach 100.92 billion USD. In the US itself, the canned food market size was 16.35 billion USD in 2017 and is estimated to grow up to 22.23 billion USD by 2025.
The growth in the global market is mostly driven by the increase in the consumption of packaged food products around the world. One major reason behind this is the convenience that packaged food offers. The fast-paced lifestyle and the growing working population have brought about this shift from whole foods to convenience food products in the past few decades.
In the US too, the increasing popularity of ready-to-eat food products paired with the affordability and availability of canned food has propelled the growth of the industry. Another reason for the increase in the consumption of canned food in the US is assumed to be the development of sustainable farming techniques and the benefits that canned food provides. Some of the common benefits include the ease of cooking and the longer shelf life of canned foods.
Most popular canned food items in US households
Canned foods are becoming increasingly popular in the US with almost 98% of Americans keeping an average of 24 cans in their kitchens. 86% of American parents also agree that they use food from a can every week.
According to the report on canned food sales by Canned Food Alliance for 2018, the biggest category of canned foods bought by Americans was soup. Canned soup alone accounted for the sale of 420 million cans in 2018. The second name on this list of most popular canned food products in the US was canned tuna, which sold almost 286 million units in 2018.
These two clear winners were followed by complete meals selling almost 253 million units. Canned vegetables are also popular in American homes. Corn was found to be the most popular canned vegetable with nearly 63% of Americans having canned corn in their homes. Corn is closely followed by green beans and tomatoes, in that order.
The consumption of canned, jarred and packaged fruits also show a steady rise in the US. While 213.4 million Americans consumed canned fruits as of 2020, the number is likely to increase to 218.76 million by 2024. According to a survey report from 2013, canned peaches and canned pineapples were found to be the most popular fruits with 67% and 63% of respondents approving of them, respectively.
Canned food types contributing to the market growth in the US
The US canned food market is composed of several different canned food items including seafood, meat products, vegetables, fruits, ready meals, and others. Out of all these categories, the type of canned food driving the highest growth in the canned food market is ready meals.
Reports show that the demand for convenience and healthy protein-rich foods have made ready meals a driver of growth in the US market between 2014 and 2025.
The second most significant growth is seen in the canned vegetable segment. The growth of the canned vegetable market can be credited to the higher amounts of mineral content seen in the product. These minerals are said to be effective in the reduction of certain health conditions such as hypertension and osteoporosis. As of 2020, 216.97 million Americans said that they used canned or jarred vegetables.
Canned fruits also have a considerable contribution to the growth of the canned food market size with the highest predicted CAGR of 5.6% between 2014 and 2025. Canned fruits are being largely used in restaurants and homes owing to their longer shelf life and convenience of use.
The canned seafood market is estimated to grow over the coming years as well. Canned seafood is predicted to grow at a CAGR of nearly 2.7% until 2025.
Factors driving the growth of canned food consumption
Consumers today are becoming more and more aware of what they buy, particularly when it comes to food. The growing concerns over health, quality of food, and its impact on the environment are all factors that impact their decision in buying food, be it fresh, frozen, or canned.
There are a few driving factors that have resulted in the growth of the canned food market, both globally and the US in particular. But there are also certain impeding factors that may be restricting its growth. If these impeding factors are not addressed soon by the manufacturers in the canned food industry, the tides may change and the upward trend may not sustain for too long.
Here are some of the key driving factors of growth and impeding factors that are holding the canned food industry back.
Increased inclination towards organic, clean-label foods
Developed economies like the US are showing an increased inclination towards organic and clean-labeled foods. This is mainly because of the health benefits that organic foods claim to provide. With more and more people becoming aware of what is good for them, their desire to know what their food contains is also visible.
People, today, want to know what ingredients their food contains and have more knowledge of reading labels than ever before. The greater availability of organically grown products in the canned food segment is a crucial factor resulting in more and more people going for canned foods over fresh food on many occasions. This has been found to be a driving factor of growth in the canned food market as well.
Increasing awareness towards hygiene and the need for convenience
The busy lifestyle in today’s time does not leave enough time for people to go grocery shopping often. This means that the stock of fresh produce cannot be replenished as often as it should be. Fresh produce has a very short shelf life and the growing awareness of people towards food hygiene makes them hesitant towards investing in food that spoils quickly.
Canned food on the other hand has a much longer shelf life. Canned products are processed, preserved, and sealed in a hygienic environment which prevents them from spoiling from exposure to sunlight or air. Canned food remains uncontaminated until opened, making it a good choice for fast food joints and restaurants. The growing consumption of canned products can be attributed to these qualities of canned food retaining their nutritional qualities for longer as well as being hygienic and convenient.
Increasing demand for ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products
With the working population growing and busy lifestyles in general, the time people can spend on cooking elaborate meals is decreasing. The preference is now shifting to ready meals that can either be consumed directly or are convenient and faster to cook. This is one reason why the ready meals market is growing at a CAGR of 4.3% with North America being the largest market. The ready-to-eat meals are more popular among the younger generation who are always on the go. This increased demand for ready meals has been a crucial driving factor of growth in the canned food market, as ready meals are the biggest contributors to the market growth in the US.
Concerns about environmental pollution
Despite the convenience and benefits that canned food products offer, it is undeniable that canned products pose a problem for the environment. Canned food products are packaged mostly in tin or aluminum cans which are non-biodegradable. The used cans are being discarded and making their way to landfills. These materials remain on the earth’s surface for decades and can cause serious environmental hazards. These metals may release harmful gases and toxic chemicals over time. Consumers who are aware of the threats to the environment by these tin and aluminum cans may refrain from buying canned food for these reasons. Governments of several countries worldwide are also coming up with new regulations preventing the use of such non-biodegradable materials for packaging.
Canned food manufacturers need to find an alternative as soon as possible to address these concerns if this upward trend in the market is to continue. Many manufacturers are now considering recyclable cans to reduce their impact on the environment.
The US is a developed and fast-growing economy with a considerably large consumer base. The population of working professionals in the country is also rising in numbers. The busy lifestyle of the majority of the population in the country is expected to cause a rise in the demand for canned food products. The major players in the canned food market are focusing on innovation and new product launches to meet the changing preferences of the population over time. The future of canned food in the US definitely looks promising but manufacturers have to find better ways of packaging and reducing their footprint. Care also has to be taken to ensure that manufacturers are delivering the nutrition, hygiene, and benefits that they promise.