According to PCI Films Consulting’s (pcifilms.com) latest review of the European marketplace, flexible packaging demand in Poland achieved solid growth of 5% during 2014, compared with 1.4% for Europe as a whole. Other national markets that significantly outperformed the European average were Turkey, the Czech and Slovak Republics, and Romania.
Report author Paul Gaster, says: “For the second year running there have been very few inflationary pressures within the European flexible packaging market and volume consumption growth in most European countries has been tracking that of value over the last year. Poland, however, has stood out as the one major market where demand has continued to grow strongly, underpinned by robust domestic demand and a successful focus on packaged food exports.”
As a result, Poland’s flexible packaging industry has achieved enormous success by supporting the high levels of inward direct investment made by multinational food brand owners in recent years, keen to take advantage of growing packaged food markets in Eastern Europe and of lower production costs available in the Polish market. Their converted flexible packaging needs have been able to be supplied by a sophisticated domestic flexible packaging industry in which leading multinational converters Amcor, Constantia and Mondi, along with Polish converter Alupol are the major players.
In identifying another major European trend, PCI reports that growth in flexible packaging demand for coffee applications, boosted by changing consumer drinking habits, has been another driver of the market in 2014. While the volume of coffee consumed in most European markets has been broadly stable or in slow decline, new added-value formats has boosted flexible packaging usage. Examples of this positive trend include increased usage of coffee pod and capsule systems using aluminium lidding and associated outer bags; also of VFFS bags of ground coffee and beans in some national markets; and the adoption of refill bags for instant coffee.
In the 15th edition of their report on the European market, PCI notes that Europe’s €12.9 billion flexible packaging market remains one of the largest and most sophisticated in the world, accounting for over 20% of the global total. In 2014, flexible packaging demand in Western Europe grew by 1.2% in both value and area terms, while the previous rapid growth in Eastern Europe has halved following sharp declines in growth in Russia and a real decline in demand in Ukraine.
Looking forward, PCI forecasts that flexible packaging demand will pick up slightly in Western Europe in 2015 as packaged food demand in some of the struggling EU economies continues to recover. However, this is expected to be offset in Eastern Europe where demand growth is expected to fall below 1 percent due to expected consumption declines in Russia and Ukraine. Between 2014 and 2019, PCI is forecasting European flexible packaging CAGR of 2% to reach €14.2 billion.