Glass packaging growth sheds light on bright future

Glass packaging growth sheds…
Glass packaging production volumes in Europe grew by 4.7% in the first half 2011 according to data published today by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE). The growth builds on increased production already recorded in 2010.

In the first six months, the European industry produced 10.6 M tonnes of glass compared to 10.2 M tonnes in the first half 2010. Major EU countries like France were up 7.2% in production volumes, Germany up 7.1%, Italy up 6.4%, and Turkey recorded a dazzling growth of 15% - all signals to a recovered confidence from customers and consumers.

“The industry has generally seen a recovery from the crisis - says FEVE President Niall Wall - This means glass packaging remains one of the reference materials for brands and retailers to deliver high quality food and drinks to both domestic and export markets because glass brings great added value while remaining at a competitive price. Such signals reinforce our confidence in the fact that consumers simply trust glass because of its environmental, health and taste preservation qualities”.

Today’s production data also mirrors the positive data recently announced by Euromonitor International showing an increase in the amount of goods now being sold in glass through the retail channel globally, which is forecast to increase by a further 2% in 2011. The Euromonitor report “Glass Returns to Growth: The Outlook in Food and Beverages” reaffirms the strong market position of glass for beer, spirits and wines and points out that the female demographic offers further potential for glass in segments like beer.

Legislation to reduce the abuse of alcohol which is targeting economy bulk packs might also favour glass. Elsewhere Euromonitor points out that trends towards a sustainable and healthy lifestyle will lead Europe to develop bigger markets for food in glass packaging citing Spain and Italy as key prospects.

Wellness is also driving sales in spreads: in Italy for example there is a widening use of honey, predominantly packed in glass, as a health remedy for sore throats and as a natural sweetener for use in cooking. In Spain, gains for glass come as private label increases the use of glass as a means to compete with A-brands in terms of image and quality.

“Europe remains an important region for glass accounting for some 37% of global retail glass packaging demand – says Rosemarie Downey, Packaging Research Manager from Euromonitor International – “In 2011, as matter of example, Russian beer consumption is showing positive signs of recovery after difficult period, and it adds to the upturn in growth for the European glass industry. In spirits, innovation abounds in the range of product offerings in vodka, proving successful for glass demand in Western Europe. Moreover, in the foods industry, European consumers are increasingly seeking out ways to adopt healthy eating habits, generating some solid performance for glass in canned/preserved foods , cooking sauces and baby food.

Spain is an interesting example where, for canned/preserved fish, there is the rise in purchase of larger sizes of jars, procuring cost savings for the price - conscious shopper whilst premium product lines in smaller sizes also fare well as consumers more broadly appreciate the benefits of fish intake. Across the European marketplace, we see glass continuing to answer brand owners’ and consumers’ requirements on both quality and sustainability fronts. Glass is an ideal vehicle for added-value product offerings, where it can and should employ its quality, tradition and heritage attributes to the full”.

While glass remains the leading choice for some markets like wine, beer or spirits, for other products like milk, yoghurts, baby food or mineral waters, a recent consumer survey showed that the strong consumer demand for glass packaging is not being met due to the lack of choice on supermarket shelves.

The glass industry is committed to working with brands and retailers to enlarge their product ranges in glass to meet this expressed demand.