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Popularity of Metal Packaging is Increasing

by Vijayalaxmi Kinhal
June 22, 2018

The popularity and demand for metal packaging is growing, spurred by economic and social factors as well as environmental awareness around the world. The main sector driving the demand is the food and beverage industry.

Cans Remain In Demand

Of all the different kinds of metal packaging such as cans, bottles, drums, caps and closures, the most popular has always been cans. This trend is set to continue in the coming years as well. The global can market is expected to increase by 4.8% by 2026, and would be worth US$101, 993 million. The two-piece can is expected to show the highest growth in demand, followed by the three-piece can.  

Aluminium, tin and steel are the popular metals used to make cans and make up a third of all metal packaging.  Aluminium is expected to be the material that is most widely used in the future to make cans.

New Markets Segments

Though cans are important, the aluminium packaging industry has received a boost through growth from non-traditional segments of the market. Aluminium screw caps are increasingly more popular in the wine markets. They are now the most favoured of all wine closures and used for 30% of wine bottles. This trend is especially marked in the largest wine markets of the world- Europe and USA. The emerging trend is driven by a preference for convenience, as young people prefer aluminium screw-caps because they are easy to open and reclose.

Different Uses

Cans are popularly used for food, beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paints etc. While the main demand at the global level is by the food and beverages sector, there are regional differences. In North and Latin Americas, Europe, and Japan the main use of cans is for beverages and processed food. While in Asia Pacific except Japan (APEJ), cans are used for packing oil, in the Middle East it is for non-food uses like cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and industrial products.

APEJ is expected to be the leading market by 2022 for cans, and worth US$ 27,456 million.

Expanding Global Food and Beverage Sector

It is the global increase in demand for ready and packed food and drinks, especially alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that is creating new markets for metal cans.  

Emerging Global Markets

The USA has been and is still the largest market for metal packaging. However, a rise in disposable income and urbanization in many developing countries around the world, especially in the Asia-Pacific region is behind the increase in demand for packaged food and drinks. China, India and Brazil are countries where demand for canned food is leading to an increase in use of metal packaging. By 2022 China is expected to be the largest market for canned food, and therefore cans.

Europe in Focus

Europe is well known for its safe food production, and is an important exporter of food and specialties which are popular in other countries, with food exports from Europe doubling in the last ten years.

Moreover, the common EU market and policies support easy movement of goods within Europe, ensuring an efficient food supply chain, and improved access to markets. The penetration of the food, beverages, and alcoholic drinks market in Europe itself is expected to grow from 12% in 2018 to 16% by 2022. Even though these figures include fresh food, there is ample scope for increase in metal packaging, especially for beverages. By 2022, the food and beverage market is expected to reach US$ 38,699 million, an increase in revenue of 8.7% compared to 2018.

All these increases in the food and beverage sector will fuel demand for metal packaging, since the EU is promoting aluminium packaging to achieve a circular economy.

Environmental Considerations

Aluminium cans are considered to be more environmentally friendly with a recycling rate in Europe above 70%, when compared to plastics whose disposal poses significant global challenges. Moreover, chemical transfer from plastic food and water containers as well as inner plastic coatings in cans have caused considerable concern due to their potential health impact on people.

Companies are trying to beat competition by building a brand that stands for sustainability. These companies are moving away from plastics, and are instead using new metal cans with healthy inner coatings. For example, industries selling water in Nordic countries are opting for metal cans since they are healthier and environmentally friendly.

A Positive Cycle

Aluminium, tin and steel packaging is growing popular at every level of the economy, from consumers, product manufactures to the packaging industry. As demand for healthy metal packaging grows, so does the amount invested in innovations in this sector. This in turn can produce packaging material that meets consumer needs and tastes, besides being environmentally friendly.

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Topics: Private Label Cosmetics, Sustainability, Chocolates , Biscuits and Confectionery packaging, Cosmetic Packaging, Tea, Coffee and Spices, Pharmaceutical