The European consumer packaging market is expected to register a CAGR of 4.13% over the forecast period. Technological innovations, sustainability trepidations, and attractive economics are among the factors driving the remarkable growth of consumer packaging.
- Packaging for the consumer goods industry plays a key role in making the product appealing to the potential buyer and delivering products to the consumer that are sufficiently sophisticated, safe, convenient, and appropriate. According to Pro Carton, more than half of Europeans believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest issue, and climate change was rated as the second most important issue. Almost half of the European consumers surveyed strongly agreed that the pandemic had made them more concerned about the environment and more focused on sustainable packaging.
- Plastic packaging has become popular among consumers for other products, as plastic material is lightweight and unbreakable, making them easier to handle. Even major manufacturers prefer plastic packaging, owing to the lower cost of production. Moreover, introducing polymers, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), expands plastic packaging applications. However, reducing the amount of environmentally harmful polymers used in packaging is one of the most researched areas in the consumer packaging market.
- Furthermore, the European Union is pioneering the plastic market with its drive toward circular economy principles. It is particularly focused on plastic waste, as the high-volume, single-use item plastic packaging has come under scrutiny. Multiple strategies are being advanced to address this issue, including substituting alternative materials, investments toward the development of bio-based plastics, designing packaging that is easier to process in recycling, and improving the recycling and processing of plastic waste.
- In 2021, the European market witnessed an increase in PET raw material prices. A sharp rise in PET prices was driven by PET supply tightness in Europe, stemming from high freight rates from Asia and shortages of raw materials. Furthermore, the premium for recycled PET (RPET) clear flakes over virgin PET in Northwest Europe reached a record high in June 2021. Virgin PET prices were pressured by supply and demand and weak buying interest, which resulted in a lack of ability to consume improved supply. Such fluctuation in the prices of raw materials has challenged market growth significantly.
- Although the price difference between recycled and virgin plastic has been growing recently, the COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this disparity. As a result, the cost of food-grade recycled PET is almost double in price compared to virgin PET, causing a lot of substitution pressure. According to Brussels-based Plastic Recyclers Europe (PRE), the demand for plastic scrap was dramatically affected by the pandemic. Moreover, most of Europe's plastic recycling industry is shutting down production due to the current market developments. The factors contributing to the shutting down of production include the lack of demand due to the closure of converting plants, the record low prices of virgin plastics, and decreased activity globally.
Europe Consumer Packaging Market Trends
Growth in Distribution Channels, such as Convenience Stores and E-commerce, to Drive the Market
- In Europe, retail and online sales have been increasing effectively. To stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people began purchasing food and preparing it at home rather than eating at restaurants.
- According to the CBI - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (EU), Europe is forecast to be the largest global importer of processed fruits and vegetables, accounting for approximately 40% of the global supply. Around 30% of the European processed fruit and vegetable trade comes from developing countries. Furthermore, most intra-European commerce comprises re-exports of processed fruits and vegetables from developing nations. Imports of processed fruit and vegetables into Europe are predicted to record a growth of 2 to 3% per year over the next five years, depending on product categories.
- According to Appinio, a substantial percentage of consumers in the United Kingdom have reported changes in their internet buying habits over the past year.
- The growth in food packaging and the ever-increasing demand for corrugated packages in growing e-commerce shipments during the COVID-19 pandemic are the primary drivers of the market. In e-commerce portals, demand has sharply increased for grocery packaging, healthcare products, and e-commerce shipments.
- The shift toward e-commerce growth means expanding the order mix, greater complexity, and more packaging diversity. Labor and seasonality also affect fulfillment operations' ability to meet orders, complicating packaging and resulting in increased damages. Furthermore, network shipping constraints and rising costs are expected to continue. More customization and unique solutions may be needed to compete effectively to achieve customer loyalty.
- In April 2022, Pregis invested in a new 1960 square meters (21,000 square foot) customer experience facility in Europe designed to provide holistic solutions to protective packaging challenges and reduce costly waste from damaged products.
Poland to Witness Significant Market Growth
- Poland is one of the significant markets for European consumer packaging vendors, owing to the high rate of investment in advanced and innovative packaging across its various end-user industries and the country's growing focus on lightweight, portable, flexible, and environmentally friendly packaging.
- The country has witnessed multiple investments by various market players and the rising demand for consumer packaging in various industries, such as food and beverages.
- In February 2021, UFlex Limited opened its brownfield BOPET film line in Poland with a capacity of 45,000 TPA. The trial run for its BOPP plant in Hungary and BOPET plant in Nigeria have already commenced, and both plants are expected to be commissioned soon.
- The earlier capacity of the group's packaging films plant in Poland was 30,000 TPA, and an additional 10.4-m BOPET line of 45,000 TPA has been commissioned, making UFlex's subsidiary Flex Films one of the largest BOPET manufacturers in the European Union.
- Many Polish packaging companies are also expanding their geographical presence by opening new manufacturing units, which is expected to boost the region's flexible packaging market scope. For instance, Plast-Box Group, one of Poland's and Europe's prominent plastic packaging producers, has opened a new warehouse and logistics center near Warsaw with a total area of over 3,800 square meters.
- DS Smith has been building a new corrugated packaging plant in Belchatow, a town located south of Lodz in central Poland, since 2021. Commissioning of the new plant, including a new corrugator geared for an annual production of 180,000 sq. m, is set for the end of June 2022. This is the sixth corrugated packaging plant of DS Smith in the country.
Europe Consumer Packaging Market Competitor Analysis
The consumer packaging market in Europe appears to be fragmented due to the presence of a large number of vendors. This report offers information about the competitive environment among players in this market space and analyzes key consumer packaging companies and their products.
- April 2022 -Tetra Pak launched tethered caps on carton packages in collaboration with leading beverage producers. According to the company, the new caps, introduced by BBL in Ireland, Cido Grupa in the Baltics, LY Company Group and Lactalis Puleva in Spain, and Weihenstephan in Germany, have been designed to prevent litter and accelerate the transition to renewable materials.
- January 2022 - Huhtamaki announced that it had acquired full ownership of its Polish joint venture company Huhtamaki Smith Anderson Sp. z.o.o. from Smith Anderson Group Ltd (SA). The company manufactures and sells food service paper bags in Eastern Europe from Huhtamaki's facility in Czeladz, Poland.
- January 2022 - Amcor announced the addition of new, more sustainable high-shield laminates to its pharmaceutical packaging portfolio. The new low-carbon, recycle-ready packaging options deliver on two fronts: providing the high barrier and performance requirements needed for the industry while supporting pharmaceutical companies' recyclability agendas.
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