Light weight, big opportunity

Rigid plastics are one of the main opportunities where a company can be more sustainable without sacrificing quality or lean manufacturing, says Clint Filipowicz, SC Johnson’s senior director – regional manufacturing operations Europe, Middle East and Africa. By 2017, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive will require 57% of plastic packaging to be recovered and recycled.

In today’s environmentally conscious world there is an rising focus on ‘sustainable’ packaging.  Consumers and manufacturers are seeking packaging that is perceived to have minimal impact on the environment, according to Katherine Fleet, sustainability manager at the RPC Group. “Plastics packaging has generally had a poor reputation as a sustainable packaging material, yet it is lightweight and low carbon” she says. “It helps prevent food waste by protecting produce from ‘plot to plate’ and extending shelf life. Plastic is also very recyclable. “This last point is important since for many consumers, sustainability is predominantly about recycling or the incorporation of recycled material.”

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Source: Packaging Today

Slow progress in flexibles

Declining demand in a number of national markets, principally France and Italy, and the continuing lack of significant inflationary pressures, are the main factors behind growth in Europe’s flexible packaging market slowing to 1.3% in both value and volume terms in 2013, down from 2.1% and 1.8% respectively in 2012. This is one of the main conclusions from PCI’s latest annual report on the €12.3 billion European converted flexible packaging market with growth expected to pick up only slightly in 2014. Report author Paul Gaster, also notes, “The growth slowdown reflects the fact that a number of economies in the Eurozone are still struggling with the effects of recession, which has reduced demand for packaged foods in these countries”.

As in previous years, there were some significant regional and national differences in value and volume demand trends. Sales in Germany, Europe’s largest flexible packaging market, continued to see some modest growth, as to a lesser extent did the UK. However, demand in Italy, Greece and Portugal continued to contract, with negative growth seen in France for the first time since 2009. Demand was most buoyant in some emerging markets in Eastern Europe, notably Russia and Poland, which grew at over four times the European average. Sales growth in Turkey, a major emerging market, while still strong relative to the European average, fell back compared with the previous year.

Compared with the metal can, glass and paperboard packaging industries, Europe’s flexible packaging industry continues to be highly fragmented with the top 20 players accounting for around 70% of the market. However, on-going consolidation continues to be steadily changing the structure of the industry, mostly with the backing of private equity finance. Major developments include the emergence of Sun Capital portfolio business Coveris as a top 10 player, and the rapid growth via acquisition of Schur Flexibles. Approaching 20% of the industry’s sales in Europe is currently generated by private equity portfolio companies.

Now in its 14th edition, PCI Films Consulting’s “The European Flexible Packaging Market” has become a valuable tool in driving business planning, investment and future product developments. Based on original field research, it is the most recent and comprehensive report available on the European market, providing over 400 pages of historical data and highly detailed market analysis and statistics for 2013, estimates for 2014 and forecasts through to 2018.

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Source: Plastics in Packaging

Top five flexible packaging trends

According to Robert Hogan, the ITW Zip-Pak director of global business development, the top five flexible packaging trends are Japanese influence, market speed, convenience, private label power and cutting costs and materials. Japan is still the leader of high quality, innovative packaging.  Their focus on detail surpasses their Western counterparts. Consumers prefer packaging that is easy to use and convenient. Customer friendly features can be added to packaging in a short time frame with little disruption to the manufacturing process. Research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for easy to use, re-sealable packaging.

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Source: Food Production Daily