The strength of plastic

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Soft drinks, Alcoholic beverage, Soft drink, Carbon dioxide, Canadean

Plastic containers, which already account for around half of all
beer and soft drinks packed in Western Europe, look set to
consolidate their position over the next five years. According to a
new report, plastic will continue to outperform its rivals, with
the volume of litres packed estimated to grow by almost 20 per cent
between 2003 and 2007.

The report's author, Canadean, says that much of the forecasted growth in plastic is expected to come from non-refillable PET, which accounts for over 84 per cent of the total for the material, having been fuelled by the packaged water revolution. Glass is by far the most popular material in terms of units produced. Despite a sharp decline in refillable packs, unit production of glass packed beverages is still some 44 per cent higher than second placed plastic. However, in contrast to glass, plastic is very much in the ascendancy, increasing both its volume and share of the total market.

Metal still big for beer​Metal is the third most widely used material, in terms of litres and units. Metal beverage packaging is dominated by 2-piece cans with over 98 per cent of the market - a share that looks like increasing further, the report says. The two main beverage categories to be packed in metal are carbonated soft drinks and beer. Carbonates in cans will decline with single-serve packs losing ground to plastic. Beer continues to rise strongly and should displace carbonates as the leading consumer of metal containers in 2006.

Laminates (short/long-life cartons, pouches and bag-in-box) are the least used but are expected to grow at the second fastest rate. The strongest sectors for laminates are found in the soft drinks market with juice and nectars and still drinks in particular presenting the greatest opportunities for growth. Furthermore, the comparatively minor short-life soft drinks should expand more quickly than their long-life equivalents.

PET continues growing

Single-serve packs account for over 70 per cent of all beverage volume by units and just over 40 per cent of volume by litres. The pack size band earmarked to advance most rapidly is single-serve packs up to 25CL. However, the versatility of PET as a material is underlined by the fact that strong increases are forecasted across every size of packaging analysed. Over the next five years, the report claims that beverage packaging will be supported by the continued prosperity of the most dynamic soft drinks sectors. Overall, litres volume and units volume are predicted to rise by 9 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

The 620 page report from Canadean's Beverage Packaging Service provides data assessing the market down to material type, sector, pack size and country level. For more information on this report click here.

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