Despite reaching a plateau of sorts, research firmGlobal Industry Analysts Inc. (GIA)believes the microwave packaging market will see growth over the near- to medium-term, and ultimately reach $2.52 billion by 2015. This growth, says the researcher, will be driven by trends toward take-home and packaged convenient frozen foods, increasing popularity of microwaveable foods and innovation in product offerings.

Although a look at recent packaging award programs confirms microwave packaging isn't short on innovation, GIA's study shows that growth in the U.S. microwave packaging market recently decelerated. Primary reasons for this sluggishness include a recently tough business environment in the upstream packaging industry, as well as reduced investments on new microwave packaging machinery and equipment and limited availability of financial resources for research and development thanks to the recession. However, as the economic downturn wanes and companies begin to invest in technology development and new applications again, GIA believes growth will return yet again.

As the report explains, the frozen foods market represents the largest end-use segment for microwave packaging, generating a share of about 57.83% in the total market revenue for the year 2009. Looking ahead, on the other hand, the fresh prepared foods market remains the fastest growing end-use segment over the analysis period 2007-2015.