Lightweight Plastic Containers Market (for Food) in Japan: Key Research Findings 2024

Shipment Volume of Lightweight Plastic Containers in Japan for 2023 Projected to Slightly Decrease to 782,050 Tons, 98.9% on YoY

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has surveyed the market of lightweight plastic containers for food in Japan and found out the trends by material and of market players.

Transition and Forecast of Lightweight Plastic Food Containers Market Size in Japan
Transition and Forecast of Lightweight Plastic Food Containers Market Size in Japan

Market Overview

The lightweight plastic container market size by the domestic shipment volume is estimated as 790,750 tons in 2022 (98.4% on a YoY basis), and 782,050 tons in 2023 (98.9% on YoY).

In 2023, added with the end of special demand for food takeaways and deliveries amid the corona crisis, consumers have tightened the purse strings due to increasing commodity prices backed by rising food prices. These have scaled down each of plastic container market sizes from the previous fiscal year, especially those containers made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or plastic lids for paper containers that benefitted from extreme heat during the summertime, except for robustly demanded transparent polypropylene (PP) containers.
In addition, stronger environmental consciousness has encouraged container manufacturers to develop lighter containers, which is one of the reasons to shrink the weight-based market size. 

Noteworthy Topics

PSP Container Market

Commodity price rise increases the consumer saving sentiment and encourages to dine at home. Meanwhile, the number of items bought at supermarkets is on the decline, making the shipment volume of food trays to be on a downswing.
The shipment volume of plastic trays for sushi, sashimi, delis and natto expects a level off from the previous year, while that of cup noodle containers on a slight decline. Consequently, the PSP container market is likely to continue the negative growth, with the market size diminishing from that in 2019 before COVID.

Future Outlook

2024 expects slowdown in commodity price rise and improvement in real wages, but consumers’ desire to save money seems to be persistent, which is likely for the plastic lightweight container market to keep a standstill. On the other hand, vigorous facility reinforcement by major container manufacturers may cause a stronger feeling of oversupply.

In such a condition, lightweight plastic container manufacturers are enhancing business both in the areas of new market exploration and new material/product development. Long-term care foods or hospital meals and frozen foods are gathering attention as the new market, of which container development for frozen foods is increasing.
In recent years, advanced technology to instantly freeze foods is attracting consumers for their good taste and convenience. In addition, frozen foods have diversified from typical bento delis to staple food, daily dishes, sashimi, desserts, bakery goods, etc. Furthermore, they are available diversely, not to mention at supermarkets, convenience stores, even department stores, which is enhancing frozen foods, and recently emerged frozen food vending machines.

As for containers for food takeaways and deliveries that rapidly appeared amid the corona crisis, the demand boosted by lightweight plastic container manufacturers for their abilities to develop those containers equipped with interlock that prevents liquid spill, a stack system that keeps from load collapse, and utilization of a thin plastic partition to separate the soup from noodles.
The abilities may be applied also to frozen foods, where container development cannot only be adding functions but that to offer something that can lead to the solutions for restaurants such as for creating the atmosphere or menu development, which may eventually generate new demands.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: November 2023 to March 2024
2.Research Object: Manufacturers of lightweight plastic containers and of plastic sheets
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by our expert researchers (including online interviews) and literature research

The Lightweight Plastic Container Market

Lightweight plastic containers in this research indicate those plastic containers for foods, such as bento, delicatessen, and foods sold mainly at supermarkets, convenience stores, and other retailers, targeting containers made of PSP (polystyrene paper), PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), PS (polystyrene) including OPS (oriented polystyrene) and solid polystyrene, PPF (paint protection film), and PP (polypropylene) that includes foamed polypropylene and transparent polypropylene. The market size has been calculated based on the domestic shipment volume.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Containers made of PSP (polystyrene paper), PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), PS (polystyrene) including OPS (oriented polystyrene) and solid polystyrene, PPF (paint protection film), and PP (polypropylene) including, foamed polypropylene and transparent polypropylene.

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