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The latest packaging trends to watch in 2018 and beyond Industry insights

A map of Western Europe

We’ve been reviewing statistics from across Western Europe’s packaging industry, covering the food, beverage, beauty and personal care, dog and cat food and home care sectors to get a feel for the trends developing within these key markets. You can view the full report, conducted by the PPMA Show 2018 in collaboration with the PPMI.

Drive for green and flexible packaging

Flexible packaging is an area of rapid growth across the industry due to the many benefits it provides,including recyclability and lightweight protection for all types of packaged goods.

Accounting for 22% of all packaging sales in Western Europe, flexible plastic is the dominant form of packaging across all major markets, and with a forecasted CAGR of 1.2% until 2020, it looks set to continue to rise in popularity.

PET packaging is another growth area throughout Western Europe, across all major sectors, as it meets the growing demand for greener solutions. Due to PET’s recyclability profile and shelf appeal, it’s particularly popular with consumers and manufacturers and currently accounts for 13% of total volume share market. It is predicted to grow significantly in 2018 and beyond.

PET bottles are a particular growth area, as the demand for bottled water increases, as consumers in developed markets adopt healthier lifestyles. Bottled water is predicted to see the largest unit growth across Western Europe, at 10.0 billion units, as widespread eco-consciousness amongst consumers helps shape the packaging landscape.

Small and convenient packaging

In keeping with the overall push towards more sustainable packaging, there is a noticeable shift towards smaller and more convenient packaging in Western Europe. This suits both consumers and suppliers, as smaller packaging sizes generally support ease of on-the-go use for consumers and easier transportation and storage for the supplier.

Efforts to reduce transportation costs and save on raw materials are some of the main drivers behind the push towards smaller pack sizes for manufacturers. The lighter the package, the lighter the load for palletising; which can significantly reduce the freight costs for shipping products.

The drive towards smaller packaging also suits consumers in developed areas too, as it contributes to food portion control to support healthier eating habits.

Alongside this, stand-up pouches are set to see growth in nearly all markets. Their benefits include: being convenient for storage, support controlling portion sizes and being easy to recycle, therefore satisfying the green demand.

Longer working hours and busy on-the-go lifestyles are driving a demand for convenient packaging, such as PET bottles, as well as certain closure types, including push-pull and flip-top.

Many packaging types have benefited from this trend, such as flexible plastic stand-up pouches in soft drinks and PET bottles in bottled water. These packaging formats are inexpensive, light and convenient to store; perfect for packaging manufacturers.

Processed foods and unethical packaging loses appeal

Due to the overall increase in demand for greener packaging and more organically sourced food and drink in the Western European markets, there is a decline in less sustainable packaging.

Minimising environmental impact is an important issue for consumers, retailers and producers alike and therefore is the largest driver behind changing packaging trends.

Alongside convenient and easy-to-store products, Western European consumers prefer products that have a reduced negative impact on the environment. This is manifesting itself in rise in flexible recyclable packaging and a decrease in market share of older forms, like folding cartons, due to their impracticality over time.

Metal Food Cans and Brick Liquid Cartons have also seen a decline in value sales in processed food and drink categories since 2015. Modern consumers, with their healthier and busier lifestyles, see these forms as less convenient and sustainable, and therefore their decline in demand is set to continue.

To summarise

Across the packaging industry in general there is a visible drive towards more sustainable, simpler and more convenient packaging styles from both consumer and manufacturers.

Therefore PET and flexible packaging has risen in popularity and now offers up some exciting possibilities to manufacturers in the forthcoming years, as trends continue to set sustainable standards across Western Europe.

We specialise in providing packaging solutions for these exact trends. The Alpha 8 series has the ability to support customer habits and keep up with unexpected trends. Find out more about the Alpha 8 series.


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