Pack and forth - Pira Packaging Summit, 2014 European packaging trends

Packaging Professional magazine
20 Jan 2014
Soft drink packaging

What lies ahead for the European packaging sector? Ledetta Asfa-Wossen reports on the highlights of the Pira Packaging Summit in London, UK.

Market trends
The main upward trends were shown in flexible packaging and barrier materials, such as ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), polyamides (PA) and biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET). Although plastics are gaining growth in paper and foil markets, foil use was said to be rising in medical packaging. However, due to cost, foil was losing favour in foodstuffs. Globally, areas set to thrive in 2014 included:

  • MAP (mainly in the USA)
  • laminations
  • recyclability
  • biodegradability
  • active packaging (mainly in Japan)
  • materials substitution

Prospective growth
Nick Waite, Head of Market Research at Smithers Pira, UK, discussed Asia’s driving growth, estimating a 6% growth on the continent over the next five years. The main areas of movement were in rigid plastics, pack substitution and cardboard. Looking at Europe in comparison, Waite said that western European countries had not fully recovered since 2008. However, Russia was tipped for the quickest growth in 2018.

Consumer drivers
Jocelyne Ehret, Director at Packaging Technology Integrated Solutions (part of Havi Global Solutions), in France, said the emotional factor was the main driver for design, such as the celebration of a sporting event or the feel of a pack. Examples from her talk included US beverage company Miller Lite’s limited edition Superbowl beer cans and a carton material that felt like silk. Ehret added that brands should adopt QR codes, apps on pack, and Facebook and Twitter as customers increasingly seek channels for immediate feedback.

Private labels
Helene Tomasino of METRO AG in Düsseldorf, Germany, presented the issue of private labelling as a market opportunity that does not always have to be a contentious one. Tomasino noted that challenges remain when launching one product for 29 countries and that volume, the variety of packs, materials and regulations can be an issue, but that there are cost benefits. She explained that private labels offer shorter contracts – often 1–2 years – and improved presentation in stores, and that private-label products can be regularly renegotiated. Tomasino added that ‘private labels could help companies save up to 10.5 tonnes of cardboard a year’, by taking advantage of more flexible collaboration with pack suppliers.

A brittle outlook?
The EU glass packaging sector
€13bln market in 2012
-0.4% in 2013
-0.2%pa forecast for 2018

In Europe
Rigid metals
+1.7% growth in 2013
+2.1% pa forecast for 2018
€24bln market in 2012 (includes iron and steel cans, aluminium containers, closures and drums)

Flexible packaging
€36bln market in 2012
+2.4% growth in 2013
+2.7% pa forecast for 2018

€4.7bln market in 2012
+2.2% pa growth forecast for 2018