However, market analysts, Marketing and Business Development (MBD), predict that the UK market for packaging in this sector will remain relatively static during the next four years.
The group’s recently updated food and drink packaging market research report examines the role of paper and board packaging, light metal, plastic and glass as well as analysing end usage.
The consultants claim a two per cent decline in real terms for 2008 is expected to be partially offset by marginal growth in the following four years, taking the value of the market to an estimated £6017.3m (€7,362.94) in 2012.
A more positive market development is expected to be restricted partly due to retailers and food and drinks manufacturers increasing efforts to reduce the amount of packaging used, continue the analysts.
“At the same time, the dynamism of material substitution shows few signs of abating, and it is important to note that this is not a uniform trend towards any single packaging material,” says MBD.
Meanwhile, the Canadean group claims that deterioration in financial market conditions over the last 18 months has pushed beverage manufacturers to increasingly consider both cost and environmental efficiency in their packaging preferences.
“In spite of the widely-expected downturn, packaging innovation and design will remain at the forefront of marketing and brand development, [playing a] key role in determining the success or failure of new products and brands over the next five years,” stated the report.
In the conclusions of Canadean’s latest report on packaging innovation, the analyst says that packaging design has become increasingly concerned with weight saving, material reduction and production line efficiency.
The report claims environmental sustainability will continue to remain an important factor for the packaging choices of many manufacturers as well as meeting consumer demand for functional benefits.
Canadean said that all major packaging materials are likely to be affected by the focus, especially in the context of light weighting, which can fulfil a number of sustainability requirements for manufacturers.
In the development of glass bottles, Canadean says that new types of blow technology and narrow neck formulations have been found to have reduced packaging weight by about 20 per cent, which can affect distribution costs.
Developers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles have also focused on lower weight standards for bottles by focusing on panel-less hot fill containers with similar durability to glass packaging.
Similarly, packagers have also moved to develop new endings and closures for beverage cans that can reduce overall material reliance, says the report.
Asides from pack material, labels are also being affected by current financial uncertainty with the industry looking to cut sizes of information panels to play up a product’s potential environmental credentials.
Along with the seeming growing importance of cost efficiency in pack innovation, the report stresses that the development of greener substrates such as recycled PET and biodegradable barrier films and pouches will also be important.
Besides cost and green benefits, aesthetic design will also remain an important area for manufacturers in making or breaking specific products and brands, according to the report.
Canadean says that the use of packaging shapes and designs such as sleek and slim bottles or embossed cans and digital on-pack printing will have an important bearing on a consumer’s beverage choice.