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Maintaining container demand


According to a five-yearly report from the Freedonia Group , US demand for beverage containers, by far the biggest market in the world, is projected to increase 1.7 percent per yearto 224 billion units in 2007, giving the sector an estimated value of $17.5 billion (€16.1bn).

The report also highlights the belief that US beverage consumption growth,and hence related container sales, will be driven by healthy levels of consumerspending, favourable demographic trends, tap water safety concerns, high levels of newproduct introduction and marketing activity, and the further development ofnontraditional distribution channels.


Accordingly plastic containers (including fast-growing pouches) will continue to represent thegrowth segment of the industry, as they further supplant metal, glass and paperboardalternatives. Advances will be propelled by PET-bottled water's emergence as apopular beverage in its own right, coupled with the proliferation of single-serving softdrink bottles, which will continue to intensely compete with aluminum cans. Plasticcontainers will account for over 30 per cent of total unit sales in 2007, and, given theirlarge size relative to other beverage containers, will represent 54 perc ent of packagedbeverage volume - the report claims.


Metal cans will remain the dominant beverage container in unit terms, based ontheir heavy use in the sizable soft drink and beer markets, and the popularity of canmultipacks. Despite favorable opportunities in vending, cans are predicted to continue to loseground to plastics and/or glass in these bedrock markets. In soft drinks, cans facefurther losses to single-serving PET bottles. Outright declines are expected in beeruses, reflecting low growth in beer production and steady inroads by glass, especially inpremium beers and in the growing malternatives subsegment.


The report also highlights that prospects will improve for glass bottles, as their replacement in the soft drink, milk,isotonic and water markets has been largely completed, and usage in certain alcoholicand alternative beverage segments stimulates growth opportunities. Gains forpaperboard beverage packaging will be concentrated in the aseptic and bag-inboxsegments, with the gabletop and composite can formats continuing to lose ground.


Carbonated soft drinks and beer will remain the largest markets for beveragecontainers through 2007, with unit shares of 44 and 24 per cent, respectively. By2012, bottled water will surpass fruit beverages and milk as the third largest drinkcontainer market. Smaller nonalcoholic drink markets will also fare well, the report says.