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Paperboard Tray Market

Market Study on Paperboard Tray: Analysing the Expanding Adoption of Paperboard Tray Within the HoReCa Industry, and Globally Rising Acceptance of Socio-environmental Responsibility, PMR Foresees a Spectrum of Opportunities Ahead

A Detailed Analysis of the Paperboard Tray Market Based on the Intensifying Sustainability Drive Worldwide, Ascending Interest of HoReCa Participants, and Increasing Product Regulations

Paperboard Tray Market

The global paperboard tray market is forecast to expand at a CAGR of 4.8% and thereby increase from US$4.5 Bn in 2023, to US$6.3 Bn by the end of 2030.


Key Insights

Paperboard Tray Market Size (2023E)

US$4.5 Bn

Projected Market Value (2030F)

US$6.3 Bn

Global Market Growth Rate (CAGR 2023 to 2030)


Historical Market Growth Rate (CAGR 2018 to 2022)


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Market Introduction and Definition

Paperboard containers are integral components of the packaging industry due to their adaptability and environmental friendliness. These containers, which are made from thick paperboard, provide an environmentally friendly substitute for conventional packaging. Their adaptable design accommodates a wide range of product sizes and shapes. The versatility of the term paperboard tray extends to electronic devices and food and beverage packaging, among others. The market is expanding because paperboard's inherent recyclability and biodegradability correspond with the increasing consumer demand for environmentally conscious products.

Paperboard containers, being an environmentally friendly and economical alternative, have come to be closely associated with contemporary packaging solutions. Multiple factors converge to drive the expansion of the global paperboard tray market. Primarily, the increased consciousness and focus on sustainability have propelled the need for environmentally favorable packaging solutions. Paperboard trays serve as a prominent example of how governments and regulatory bodies are pressuring industries to adopt greener alternatives to reduce carbon footprints.

In addition, the food and beverage industry, a significant consumer of paperboard containers, has experienced an increase in demand, which has contributed to the expansion of the market. The increased visibility of a brand via the simplicity of customization and printing on paperboard containers influences consumer decisions. These factors collectively contribute to the increasing growth of the worldwide paperboard tray industry, establishing it as a significant participant in the dynamic realm of environmentally friendly packaging alternatives.

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Market Growth Drivers

Fundamental Transition Towards Environmentally Friendly Packaging Solutions

The exponential expansion of the worldwide paperboard tray industry is closely linked to the fundamental transition towards environmentally friendly packaging. In recent times, there has been a re-evaluation of conventional packaging methods by regulatory bodies, industries, and consumers due to increased environmental consciousness. Paperboard containers have consequently become a leading contender in the quest for environmentally sustainable alternatives. The increase in demand can be ascribed to the renewable nature of paperboard, which provides an array of environmental advantages.

Trays made from paperboard that has been recycled or sourced from timber pulp sustainably exemplify the principles of the circular economy. By paperboard's recyclability, these containers may be repurposed into novel products, thereby alleviating the strain on landfills. In addition, the environmental impact of paperboard is minimized due to its biodegradability, which is consistent with the increasing awareness of the need to reduce non-biodegradable waste. The allure of paperboard containers transcends their environmental friendliness at the end of their useful life; their compact dimensions mitigate carbon emissions associated with transportation, thereby promoting a virtuous life cycle.

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Market Restraints

Frequent Supply Chain Disruptions

The global paperboard tray market is currently undergoing substantial expansion; however, it is confronted with a substantial impediment in the shape of disruptions in the supply chain. The complex network of suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors that supports the industry is vulnerable to a range of risks that can disrupt the smooth functioning of the market.

An important determinant in supply chain disruptions is the precariousness of the costs and availability of basic materials. The trays are constructed primarily from paperboard, which is contingent upon several factors including the availability of timber pulp, the efficiency of transportation logistics, and geopolitical stability. Varies in these components have the potential to impede the seamless operation of the supply chain.

Intricate Nature of Regulatory Compliance

The global paperboard tray market is confronted with a formidable obstacle in the form of the intricate nature of regulatory compliance. With the increasing emphasis on sustainability and environmental conservation by governments across the globe, the packaging industry, which includes paperboard containers, is compelled to contend with a continuously changing regulatory framework.

For manufacturers, navigating the complex web of regulations, certifications, and standards presents a formidable obstacle. Regions have distinct compliance requirements, and maintaining awareness of these ever-changing mandates necessitates ongoing vigilance and flexibility. Complying with rigorous environmental impact assessments, recycling regulations, and material requirements imposes an additional burden on businesses, compelling them to make significant investments in research and development to ensure their products remain compliant with evolving standards.

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Unparalleled Expansion of e-Commerce Operations

One of the primary opportunistic factors driving the worldwide paperboard tray market is the unparalleled expansion of electronic commerce operations. The packaging industry stands to gain significantly from the paradigm shift in consumer behavior toward online purchasing; paperboard trays are positioned as a key beneficiary of this development. The surge in e-commerce has substantially heightened the need for durable and environmentally sustainable packaging alternatives, an area in which paperboard containers excel.

The seamless alignment of paperboard containers with the wide variety of goods sold online is attributed to their adaptability to different product shapes and sizes. Whether it be electronics or perishable goods, these containers provide a secure and adaptable packaging alternative that guarantees products are delivered to consumers in impeccable condition.

In addition, their customizable features and aesthetic allure render paperboard trays an optimal selection for augmenting the unboxing process, a pivotal element in the e-commerce domain where initial perceptions are significant. The environmental friendliness of paperboard trays is well received by consumers who are becoming more aware of the consequences of their purchases, as both major e-commerce companies and lesser vendors prioritize sustainable practices.

Market Segmentation

What is the Leading Materia-wise Segment?

Paperboard-based Materials Account for the Largest Share as Gain Traction in F&B

Out of the segments enumerated, paperboard is anticipated to hold the most substantial market share. Paperboard containers are in high demand across a wide array of industries, including food and beverage, electronics, and more, due to their adaptability, resilience, and recyclable nature. The pervasive adoption of paperboard trays is a result of their broad applicability, which further establishes them as the market leader. It is anticipated that the molded fiber segment will attain the most rapid development rate among all market segments.

In response to the growing need for environmentally responsible packaging alternatives, molded fiber trays have garnered attention due to their flexible configuration and eco-friendly composition. With the ongoing transition towards environmentally friendly packaging being propelled by consumer preferences and environmental considerations, the molded fiber sector is poised to experience rapid expansion, establishing itself as the market leader in terms of velocity among paperboard trays.

Which is the Dominant Product Category?

Multiple Cavity Products Continue to be the Bestseller Category

It is anticipated that the multiple cavity segment will hold the most significant market share in the paperboard tray industry. Due to its adaptability and effectiveness in accommodating a wide range of product sizes and varieties, it is favored in numerous industries. The capacity to concurrently package numerous products augments its desirability, thereby contributing to its market dominance. Although the market share of the multiple cavity segment is expected to be the highest, it is the single cavity segment that is projected to experience the most rapid growth.

The expansion observed can be ascribed to distinct criteria for product packaging, especially in premium or specialized sectors that prioritize the safeguarding of a solitary, well-preserved item. The ability of the single cavity segment to efficiently cater to these specific requirements places it in a favorable position to experience expeditious growth within the paperboard tray industry, enabling it to penetrate niche markets.

Which Market Segments Leads by Capacity?

The 8 oz to 20 oz Segment Continues to be at the Forefront

It is projected that the market share of the 8 oz to 20 oz segment will be the highest in the paperboard tray industry. This range effectively caters to the packaging requirements of a diverse selection of products by finding an equilibrium between single-serving items and marginally larger quantities. Its industry prominence can be attributed to the fact that its adaptability renders it a favored option in numerous sectors.

The segment exceeding 30 ounces is anticipated to experience the most rapid growth among all market segments. This category of larger sizes accommodates mass packaging requirements, and with the growing adoption of environmentally friendly and sustainable packaging solutions by industries for larger products or quantities, there is anticipated to be a significant surge in demand for paperboard trays exceeding 30 oz. The capability of this segment to cater to the changing demands of industries and consumers establishes it as a significant catalyst for the paperboard tray market's accelerated expansion.

Which is the Major Application Area?

Microwave Trays Remains the Most Appealing Application Area, Thermal Resistance Drives Demand

It is anticipated that the microwave tray sector will hold the most significant portion of the market in the paperboard tray industry. As the demand for microwaveable and convenient food packaging has increased, so has the utilization of microwave containers. Owing to their remarkable thermal resistance and practical reheating functionality, these containers have emerged as indispensable equipment within the food industry, substantially bolstering their market supremacy. The conventional tray market segment is anticipated to expand the most rapidly.

In contrast to microwave trays, which are designed for a particular purpose, conventional trays are adaptable for a wide range of uses, including food packaging and general product displays. In the light of industries' pursuit of sustainable and economical packaging alternatives, conventional trays are well-positioned for swift expansion due to their ability to accommodate the varied demands of a dynamic market.

Which is the Most Prominent End Use?

Pretzel-Ready Meals Most Favored for their Ready-to-Eat Nature

Pretzel-ready meals are anticipated to hold the most significant market share in the paperboard tray sector. As the demand for fast and convenient meal options increases, ready-to-eat meals have become an integral part of contemporary lifestyles. Paperboard containers are the optimal packaging solution for this market segment due to their sustainability and practicality, factors that have contributed to their market dominance. The fruits and vegetables sector is anticipated to experience the most rapid growth among all market segments.

With the increasing demand for fresh produce and the global consumer preference for healthier food options, there has been a growing trend towards the packaging of fruits and vegetables in paperboard containers. The dual necessity to maintain the freshness of perishable products and the increasing demand for eco-friendly packaging fuel the segment's expansion, establishing it as a dynamic force propelling the paperboard tray industry's rapid growth.

Top Regional Markets

North America Commands with Higher Consumer Consciousness Regarding Sustainable Choices

It is anticipated that North America will hold the largest market share of the worldwide paperboard tray industry. Various factors collectively contribute to the region's market leadership, which explains this dominance. In the first place, consumer consciousness and prioritization of sustainable and environmentally conscious practices are notably elevated in North America. The environmentally aware consumer demographic in the area actively pursues products that have a minimal ecological footprint, which is an ideal match for the sustainable characteristics of paperboard trays.

Consequently, the propensity of North American industries to embrace sustainable packaging solutions has propelled the extensive implementation of paperboard containers. Furthermore, the maturity and long-standing nature of the packaging sector in North America significantly contributes to the market's hegemony. The area is distinguished by its sophisticated technology, infrastructure, and supply chain, which collectively foster an optimal setting for the manufacturing and extensive utilization of paperboard containers.

Changing Consumer Inclination, and Widening Focus on Sustainability to Pave the Way for Asian Markets

It is expected that South Asia, and the Oceania will witness the most rapid expansion of the worldwide paperboard tray market. The area under consideration exhibits a dynamic topography marked by an expanding populace, changing consumer inclinations, and an increasing consciousness regarding ecological sustainability. South Asia, and the Oceania are witnessing an increasing adoption of sustainable packaging practices, which is being propelled by evolving consumer preferences and regulatory efforts that advocate for environmentally responsible alternatives.

There is a significant increase in the need for packaging options that are both convenient and environmentally friendly in these developing markets; these characteristics are precisely matched by paperboard containers. Moreover, the exponential growth of the retail industry, specifically in nations such as Indonesia, and India, facilitates the increased acceptance of packaged products, thereby driving the demand for paperboard containers even higher.

Analyst’s Viewpoint

The worldwide market for paperboard trays is anticipated to experience significant expansion due to a convergence of elements that mirror changing consumer inclinations, industry changes, and the need for environmental sustainability. The market's expansion can be largely attributed to the growing recognition and emphasis on sustainable practices. There is a worldwide trend among consumers to exhibit greater environmental awareness by preferring products and packaging options that reduce their ecological footprint.

The consistent ecological characteristics of paperboard containers with this prevailing pattern establish them as a favored option across diverse sectors, such as healthcare, electronics, food and beverage, and electronics. The dynamics between manufacturers and consumers is of utmost importance in determining the course of the market. To meet the increasing consumer demand for environmentally favorable and sustainable packaging, manufacturers are allocating resources toward research and development endeavors that improve the performance and aesthetics of paperboard trays. Customization and branding have evolved into essential components, thereby fortifying the correlation between the packaging of a product and how consumers perceive it.

Paperboard containers' market appeal is enhanced by their capacity to serve as a canvas for branding and narratives; this establishes a mutually beneficial association between manufacturers and consumers. With manufacturers placing greater emphasis on providing experiences rather than mere products, paperboard containers are assuming a more strategic role as a packaging medium. Moreover, the pattern of regional pre-eminence is remarkable. With its developed packaging industry and increased consumer awareness, North America is anticipated to hold the largest market share. Concurrently, South Asia, and the Oceania are anticipated to witness the most rapid expansion, propelled by factors such as urbanization, a rising demand for sustainable packaging in developing nations, and a burgeoning population.

The global market for paperboard trays is anticipated to experience substantial expansion, driven by the interaction between sustainability, consumer-brand loyalty, technological progress, and regional factors. Manufacturers who successfully navigate these factors and adapt to the ever-changing market trends are more likely to capitalize on substantial opportunities and make valuable contributions to the market's prosperous future.

Supply-side Dynamics

The international paperboard tray market is distinguished by the participation of major corporations, such as Huhtamaki Oyj, WestRock Company, and International Paper Company. These prominent companies in the industry possess a substantial portion of the market by capitalizing on their knowledge and proficiency in environmentally friendly packaging alternatives. The market utilization is dominated by the following nations: the US, Germany, China, and Japan.

The US, for example, observes extensive implementation of paperboard containers in various industries due to its notable commitment to environmentally sustainable practices. Sustainable packaging solutions are given priority by manufacturers in Germany, a country renowned for its rigorous environmental regulations, which significantly contribute to the market's robust growth.

The market leaders in paperboard trays are proactively influencing their environment via strategic endeavors. These businesses are allocating resources toward research and development to improve the functionality and environmental impact of paperboard containers. For example, International Paper Company prioritizes sustainable forestry practices to guarantee a conscientious supply chain. WestRock Company prioritizes packaging design innovation to satisfy the diverse requirements of its industries.

Huhtamaki Oyj is an industry leader in the advancement of bio-based tray manufacturing materials. As a group, these participants are propelling the market in the direction of enhanced customization, innovation, and sustainability, thereby establishing environmental responsibility benchmarks, and influencing industry standards. Their endeavors are not only influencing the competitive environment but also advancing the industry in its pursuit of environmentally sustainable packaging solutions.

Competitive Intelligence and Business Strategy

Prominent entities in the worldwide paperboard tray industry, including Huhtamaki Oyj, International Paper Company, and WestRock Company, implement strategic initiatives to maintain and increase their market dominance. An essential objective of these participants is to foster innovation in the realm of product development. Through consistent investment in research and development, the organization consistently improves the sustainability, functionality, and adaptability of paperboard containers.

International Paper Company prioritizes the development of state-of-the-art technologies that enhance the environmental impact and recyclability of its products. This commitment guarantees that the company's products remain in line with changing consumer demands and rigorous regulatory frameworks.

In addition, to broaden their product offerings and intensify their global footprint, market leaders on a global scale proactively pursue strategic alliances and acquisitions. By engaging in partnerships with various industry stakeholders, such as retailers and food producers, they can gain insights into market demands and provide customized solutions. By adopting this proactive stance, market leaders guarantee that they maintain a competitive edge by proactively anticipating and fulfilling the ever-changing demands of the industry.

The endeavor to attain optimal market share for these prevailing entities is predicated on a comprehensive approach that incorporates strategic alliances, innovation, sustainability, and customization. These companies establish themselves as trendsetters by consistently adjusting to shifting market dynamics and consumer preferences. As a result, they exert an influence on the industry as a whole, steering it towards a future that is more sustainable, and consumer-centric.

Key Recent Developments

New Investment

Mondi allocated 280 million US dollars in May 2022 to increase the production of corrugated boards and cardboard. Capacity expansion and efficiency gains are anticipated due to this investment in the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, and Turkey. From the amount of this investment, $185 million, will be allocated to the organization's network.

Market Impact: The substantial financial commitment of $280 million made by Mondi towards the augmentation of corrugated board and cardboard manufacturing is positioned to exert a paradigm shift on the international market. It is anticipated that this multi-nation strategic maneuver—which encompasses the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, and Turkey—will not only increase production capacity but also generate advances in efficiency. The donation of US$185 million to the organization's network demonstrates a dedication to enhancing Mondi's capacities, thereby potentially impacting market dynamics in the global corrugated boards and cardboard industry and fostering greater competitiveness.

New Announcement

Iceland, in December 2021, planned to replace a portion of its plastic packaging with functional barrier paper developed by 'Mondi' that possesses an equivalent storage life as its predecessor and is recyclable in current waste streams. The nation of Iceland is resolute in its pursuit of sustainability objectives and has made significant progress thus far towards decreasing plastic packaging.

Market Impact: The potential impact of Iceland's decision to substitute a fraction of its plastic packaging with functional barrier paper from Mondi on the international market is favorable. This action is in line with the increasing worldwide focus on sustainability and demonstrates a feasible substitute for conventional plastic packaging. Iceland's implementation of Mondi's recyclable barrier paper establishes a model for other regions and industries to follow in their pursuit of environmentally friendly alternatives, thus making a significant contribution to the worldwide transition towards sustainable packaging practices and a nation dedicated to minimizing plastic consumption.

Paperboard Tray Market Report Scope



Forecast Period

2023 to 2030

Historical Data Available for

2018 to 2022

Market Analysis

US$ Million for Value

Key Regions Covered

  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • South Asia & Pacific
  • East Asia
  • The Middle East & Africa  

Key Countries Covered

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Russia
  • China
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • India
  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • GCC Countries
  • South Africa  

Key Market Segments Covered

  • Material
  • Product
  • Application
  • Capacity
  • End Use
  • Region

Key Companies Profiled

  • Amcor plc
  • Sonoco Products Company
  • Huhtamaki Oyj
  • DS Smith Plc
  • International Paper Company
  • Brodrene Hartmann A/S
  • Graphic Packaging International, LLC
  • NDEVCO Paper Containers (IPC)
  • Smurfit Kappa Group
  • Papier-Mettler Inc.
  • Others

Report Coverage

  • Market Forecast
  • Company Share Analysis
  • Competition Intelligence
  • DROT Analysis
  • Market Dynamics and Challenges
  • Strategic Growth Initiatives  

Customization & Pricing

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Paperboard Tray Market Research Segmentation

By Material:

  • Kraft Paper
  • Paperboard
  • Molded Fiber

By Product:

  • Single Cavity
  • Multiple Cavity

By Application:

  • Microwave Trays
  • Conventional Trays

By Capacity:

  • Up to 8 oz
  • 8 oz to 20 oz
  • 20 oz to 30 oz
  • Above 30 oz

By End Use:

  • Food
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Poultry
  • Bakery and Confectionary
  • Baby Food
  • Ready-to-eat Meals
  • Pet Food
  • Other Food Products

By Region:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • East Asia
  • South Asia & Oceania
  • Latin America
  • Middle East & Africa

- Companies Covered in This Report -

  • Amcor plc
  • Sonoco Products Company
  • Huhtamaki Oyj
  • DS Smith Plc
  • International Paper Company
  • Brodrene Hartmann A/S
  • Graphic Packaging International, LLC
  • NDEVCO Paper Containers (IPC)
  • Smurfit Kappa Group
  • Papier-Mettler Inc.

- Frequently Asked Questions -

The market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% during the projected period.

The paperboard tray market size was valued at US$4.5 billion in 2023.

The US held the largest market share in 2023.

Some of the prominent players in the market are Amcor Plc, Sonoco Products Company, Huhtamaki Oyj, DS Smith Plc, and International Paper Company.

The fruits and vegetables segment is expected to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period.

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