Megacities increase demand for food packaging

The global population is expected to grow from more than 7 billion people today to 8 billion within the next 15 years. More and more people are moving into ever-expanding megacities of over 10 million residents, most of which are based in emerging markets.

Market research company Euromonitor has recognized 30 megacities worldwide, with more than 40 expected by 2030. This year, 55% of the total global population – or 4.1 billion people – will live in cities. Most of this growth comes from Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.



Although urbanization creates challenges, it also offers substantial business opportunities, especially since urban households tend to have higher purchasing power. Also, the transition to smaller-sized households in cities, compared to rural areas, will give further rise to new consumption trends and boost demand for goods and services.

Changing consumer behavior

According to Euromonitor, megacities play a central role in creating national wealth in emerging economies, improving economic development and attracting foreign investment. China, for example, is undergoing a major rural-to-urban household transfer, already recording six megacities as of 2016. New cities have been developed that have swallowed up entire rural communities, transforming the country into a primarily urban market.

For example, many employees of the Huhtamaki foodservice plant at Guangzhou city have moved from rural areas to follow better job opportunities. Some of them have moved permanently and some temporarily. Many still have families in the original home region and with the new income they can support them for education, housing and general living costs.

These stories are typical among households in emerging markets. Consumption behavior is evolving together with improving living standards. The growth of a wealthier middle class is another global megatrend, which typically increases the demand for packaged goods. This, in turn, has a positive effect on Huhtamaki’s business.

In addition, Euromonitor sees that newly created megacities are on their way to becoming hubs for dining options, as consumers want more diverse food experiences. Besides fast food outlets, the demand for higher-end grocery stores and niche outlets are also on the rise.

Read more about our operating environment in the Insights 2016 report.