The Processing Packaging & Machinery Association (PPMA) has produced its Global Packaging Trends Report 2019 and has shown why glass packaging still holds a clear and bright future.
With constant reports and predictions forecasting the ongoing growth and dominance of flexible packaging, it is easy to see why the outlook for more traditional solutions, such as glass, may look a little bleak.
Indeed, the flexible packaging market is set to grow by 4.9% by the year 2025 to reach a value of $311.38 billion.
And yet, if you look behind these initial headlines, there are positive trends that indicate glass-based packaging solutions still have their place in the global market and will continue to play an important role in the future of packaging.
According to the report, glass bottles remain the packaging solution of choice for alcohol; in particular beers, wines and spirits. In Australasia for example, out of a total 36 billion packaging units sold, glass bottles account for the second largest market share at 15.9%, not far behind flexible packaging at 20.3%.
In this region, both alcoholic and soft drinks account for this large portion of the market share for glass packaging in this sector.
Feedback from the Report found sustainability to be the driving force behind this figure, with the impact of packaging on the environment leading consumers in the region to seek recyclable, reusable and reduced waste materials.
Glass-bottled water is also prospering in Australia, with several manufacturers turning to glass to differentiate their products and communicate a sense of quality and wellbeing.
Bottled water in Eastern Europe remains popular, with the Report projecting the highest growth in the beverage sector.
While PET bottles still dominate, ethical living concerns and health preferences amongst Eastern European consumers’ demands remain high and expect packaging to be sustainable.
This is having an increasing influence on purchasing choice, which is responsible for the growth in glass over plastic. It is here that glass packaging is serving the consumers’ desire to avoid contributing to the global plastic pollution crisis.
Glass-bottled beer, which accounted for 63% of a total 16.6 billion units in 2018, is also set to continue its strong market presence in Eastern European, with healthy growth predicted in several countries.
In the Ukraine, glass bottles for beer, wine and water is forecast to see a 3.4% CAGR from 2018 to the year 2023, and in Romania, glass bottled beer, wine, water and juice is set for a CAGR increase of 3.6% over the same period.
Beer packaging was the leading category in Latin America, with glass bottles being the dominant pack type, reflecting the drive by major brewers to leverage its greatest asset – returnability.
Latin America’s beer industry is highly concentrated around returnable family-sized glass bottles with eco-friendly glass weights expected to gain growth of around 2% in the future.
In 2017, beer, the single largest alcoholic beverage in terms of packaging volume, led in the share of returnable glass bottles sold, with 55% of all glass beer bottles in Mexico returned
The eco-credentials of glass are hard to ignore and with much media coverage and international political debate surrounding the global plastic pollution crisis, the cradle-to-cradle closed loop recycling of glass will continue to work in its favour.
According to the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE), one tonne of recycled glass saves 1.2 tonnes of virgin raw materials, 60% of CO2 across the supply chain, air pollution is reduced by 20% and water pollution is cut by 50%.
What’s more, the energy saved from recycling just one glass bottle can power a computer for up to 20 minutes.
The Global Packaging Trends Report 2019 was commissioned by the PPMA Group of Associations and its worldwide affiliate organisations, the APPMA, PMMI, SYMOP and UCIMA.