The Global Canned Food Market: Size and Future Trends

Nick Mirev
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    In the past, canning and other food preservation methods were primarily used to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Nowadays, the canned food market offers a variety of ready-to-eat canned food recipes. This has made them a convenient option for people with busy schedules in urbanized areas. The increased usage of canned food in restaurants and households has made them popular products in the catalogs of produce distributors. In this article, we’ll examine the current state of the global canned food market and what trends will shape canned food businesses in the near future. If you’re a business owner in the field or simply interested in food preservation, check out our post about frozen fruit suppliers and wholesale preserves.

    Key takeaway: The canned food industry is growing thanks to the low retail and wholesale prices of canned goods and their increased shelf life. Both businesses and households buy canned products. The canned food market grows by roughly 3 percent annually.
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    Current State of the Canned Food Market

    According to various market monitoring websites, the global size of the canned food market is between 80 and 100 billion USD. The expected annual growth rate in the industry is around 3 percent. This means the global market is expected to surpass 120 billion USD in value by the end of the decade. These figures do not include canning at home which is widely popular in all parts of the world.

    The current growth of the canned food market is fueled by global inflation. As purchasing power has shrunk worldwide, consumers are likely to switch to cheaper alternatives. Inflation in the food and beverage industry has been higher compared to many other industries. Thus, it’s understandable that there is growth in sales of retail and bulk canned food.

    It is a common misconception that canned products lose a large portion of their nutritional value. However, that is not the case. Although some vitamins and minerals deteriorate during the thermal process, most nutrients are kept. Keep in mind that canned products will further lose their nutritional value with time. That’s why it’s recommended to consume them between 6 and 12 months after canning. As more and more people find out about the benefits of canning, they are more likely to opt for canned goods. This has led to growth in canned food consumption.

    Store-bought canned products are more often consumed in heavily urbanized areas. That’s because life in these regions is usually more stressful and busy. In this setting, the convenience of having a ready-to-eat meal is very important. The rapid urbanization all across the globe has significantly sparked the sales growth in the industry. That is why, in the past, the most popular canned products used to be vegetables and fruits. Nowadays, dishes like soups, stews, and pasta are among the leaders in sales.

    Biggest Canned Food Markets

    It is no surprise that China accounts for a large portion of the worldwide canned food market. The main factors that contribute to the industry’s growth in China are rapid urbanization and the influence of Western culture.

    The US is also among the major players in the canned food market. The main drivers of the market here are technological innovations and the increased awareness of frozen vs canned vegetables and other goods. As an increased number of people search for plant-based protein sources, sales of canned legumes have increased in recent years. 

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    Trends in the Canned Food Market

    Just like every other niche, there are trends that shape the canned food market as well. Let’s examine some of the current and future trends in this industry.

    1. Increased health consciousness. One of the main disadvantages of most products in the canned food market is the high sodium content and exposure to BPA plastics. That’s why manufacturers of canned goods strive to make their products healthier.
    2. Vegan options. Many vegan goods have become among the high-demand products in the industry. The most popular ones are pulses and legumes such as lentils, peas, and beans. Canned vegan dishes are also trendy.
    3. Increased convenience. A lot of people buy canned dishes because they are convenient and easy to consume. That’s why manufacturers aim to provide even more convenience for clients by offering a wide range of ready-to-eat canned meals with extended shelf life.
    4. Sustainability. Green policies like eco-friendly packaging are reshaping the canned food market. Furthermore, as a large percentage of food goes to waste, there's a trend to buy canned goods from local producers.
    5. Diversification in flavors. Thanks to globalization, people can easily enjoy culinary exploration. Canned products are the perfect way to do so. Adventurous eaters can buy canned products from different cuisines and enjoy them at a low price.
    6. Increased online sales. People who buy canned foods online do so primarily through large retailers. However, there are also smaller eCommerce websites that specialize in canned goods. These businesses offer a wide range of products such as products for camping and hiking. Online stores in the canned food market might also offer subscription models, bundles, and personalized recommendations based on past purchases.
    7. Innovations in packaging. Functional and active packaging is among the popular packaging trends. That’s also true in the canned food market. Manufacturers strive to offer solutions such as resealable packaging or portion-controlled servings as a way to offer additional convenience to the consumer.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about the Canned Food Market

    BlueCart can offer various solutions for businesses in the canned food industry. Even if you haven’t yet benefited from our SaaS software, you can find answers to various questions in our blog posts. For example, below we have shared the answers to commonly asked questions related to the canned goods industry.

    Why Is Canned Food Becoming More Popular?

    Due to the multiple advantages of canned food, it’s rising in popularity. Its main benefits are the lower price, the increased shelf life, and the convenience of ready-to-eat canned meals. These pros far outweigh the cons (small loss of nutritional value and impact on flavor and texture) for many people with limited budgets or busy schedules. In addition to the growth of the canned food market, many households also prepare various types of canned food at home.

    Why Is Canned Food Cheap?

    Businesses in the canned food market purchase most of the ingredients during peak seasons. That is why their cost of goods sold is low and the prices of canned food are also low. Businesses from the canned food industry also benefit from economies of scale. Companies that aim to reduce their costs might order wholesale canned goods instead of buying fresh ingredients. However, this can have a negative impact on the flavor and texture of dishes.

    How to Can Food at Home?

    One of the main benefits of canned food is that the process of canning is easy and fast. It also doesn’t require expensive equipment like freeze-drying. Thus, home canning is practiced by many all over the world. If you decide to can food at home, here are some things you need to know.

    1. Use the right canning method. There are two main canning methods - pressure canning and water bath canning. The latter is easier but it’s more suitable for fruits and high-acid food products. Pressure canning is the safe method of canning meat, ready dishes, and vegetables.
    2. Buy proper equipment. As this food preservation method is very common, proper pressure canning equipment is not expensive.
    3. Storage. Store the canned products away from direct sunlight and in a cool and dry place.
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