IndexBox has just published a new report: “EU - Plastic Packaging - Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights.” Here is a summary of the report's key findings.
According to the latest statistics from Eurostat, the dynamics of plastic packaging production in 2020 practically mirrored that of 2019. Despite the decrease in the output of plastic packaging in April-June 2020 by about 8% compared to March and its subsequent recovery, these fluctuations fit into the “normal” seasonal trend, typical for both 2019 and 2020. The average annual production in 2020 was also approximately equal to the volume of 2019. Consequently, the plastic packaging market remains resilient to the crisis caused by the pandemic.
The EU plastic packaging market totals $31 billion (IndexBox estimates). The largest plastic packaging markets in the European Union include Germany ($4.8 billion), France ($4.7 billion) and the UK ($4.2 billion), together accounting for 44% of the total market. These countries were followed by Spain, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Greece and Romania, which together accounted for a further 46%.
Limitations in the HoReCa segment have led to changes in sales channels since individual retail packaging has become more in demand than bulk packaging. During the pandemic, attention to hygiene and safety has increased, which has contributed to the continued popularity of plastic individual packaging because it is easy to wash and disinfect.
During the period of isolation, most shops, cafes and restaurants began to expand take-out and home delivery services. The surge in contactless shopping has led to an increase in the consumption of plastic packagings like plastic bags and containers. As consumers are more likely to cook and snack at home, plastic packaging manufacturers could also extend their product ranges with containers of various types and dimensions, including family and single-person boxes convenient for different scenarios of eating, in an effort to hold the market.
According to the New European Green Deal, by 2030, absolutely all plastic packaging consumed in the EU must be recyclable or recyclable. Tighter waste controls could push the plastic packaging market to transform supply chains. Manufacturers will be forced to switch to making plastic packaging suitable for multiple reuse and subsequent recycling, while the production of non-recyclable types of packaging should decrease in the future.
Another problem is a large amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere during the process of recycling plastic packaging. The European Green Deal aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, therefore, European plastic packaging manufacturers will be forced to use carbon capture technologies in their plants or look for other ways to reduce carbon footprint, which could lead to higher costs of plastic packaging.
Taking into account the development of plastic recycling, any radical abandonment of plastic packaging is currently not expected. Plastic containers feature a relatively low cost due to low prices for hydrocarbons, light weight, and suitability for disinfection and washing. The exit from the pandemic may take a long time due to the threat of the second and subsequent waves, therefore, the need for food delivery and for home and retail packaging is expected to continue.