The outlook for the blow moulded bottle market is positive with further output growth, increasing demand for added value products and for the use of recyclates shaping the landscape, says a report from AMI Consulting.
Blow moulded bottle demand in Europe was 189 billion units in 2017, up from 176 billion in 2013, with the fastest growing market segments have been sweet and savoury spreads and still water, AMI announced.
In some food applications penetration of plastics is increasing strongly driven by opportunities for brand development. Where penetration of plastic bottles is already high such as in household care products the competitive battleground will centre on inter-material and inter-format competition, supply-chain efficiency and premium brand opportunities.
Recycling is an important topic
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important and it has been incorporated in the agenda of all significant brand owners and their suppliers. Most have established long term sustainability targets, encompassing ways to reduce, reuse and recycle the packaging. Emphasis on packaging weight reduction is adversely affecting polymer demand and at the same time it drives the development of better-performance materials and technology. The use of PET and HDPE recyclates has been steadily gaining in importance but now will accelerate. Recyclates growth will be driven by the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan and some of the major brand owners’ commitment to increase the recycled content in their packaging to 25% or more by 2025. The growth of recyclates requires a balance between financial and environmental considerations and to meet the industry targets will require the development of a new supply chain, investments in capacity, closed-loop recycling and sorting technology.
As price pressures are increasing, the supply chain is forced towards maximising operational efficiency and minimise costs. Brand owners are reducing the role of the converter by increasingly controlling polymer procurement, gaining competence in blow moulding and injection moulding, and acquiring cost-transparency through self-manufacture. As value-capture decreases, converters are becoming specialists and reduce cost through operating fewer sites. Several players have focussed their development efforts on their preform business looking at how to add value, for example focussing on barrier technology.
10 groups control 28% of volume throughput which makes the European blow moulded bottles market highly fragmented. The largest producers in Europe include Alpla, Logoplaste, Plastipak, RPC and Serioplast.
AMI Consulting forecasts that demand overall will reach 203 billion units to 2022, a CAGR 1.4% 2017-22, but growth in some segments will be well above the average.