Although nearly two thirds of the world's beer continues to be distributed in refillable glass bottles, the real dynamism in the drinks packaging market as a whole is coming from PET, claims a new report from beverage analysts Canadean.
The report shows that non-refillable PET is now the most popular packaging material for all beverages worldwide, but it still has some way to go before it replaces glass as the packaging material of choice for brewers.
Driven by growth in the world's largest beer market - China - the proportion of beer packaged in glass has risen from around 61 per cent in 1998 to almost 63 per cent in 2002, said Canadean, with only a minuscule amount of the increase attributable to non-refillable. Both packaged water and carbonates also continue to use substantial volumes of glass, with refillable keeping the lead over non-refillable.
However, lightweight, resilient and affordable, non-refillable PET now accounts for more than one third of the global pack mix, having increased volume by 50 per cent between 1998 and 2002. The vast bulk of this growth - almost half - is accounted for by packaged water sales in the US, China, France, Spain, Indonesia and Italy.
In 1998, according to Canadean, just over a quarter of the world's packaged water came in glass bottles and 57 per cent in PET; by 2002 the share had changed to 18 per cent and 73 per cent respectively. More than half of all carbonates are also now packaged in PET, Canadean claims.
The most dynamic pack format on the world stage is single-serve non-refillable PET, Canadean said, particularly in the packaged water sector where sales are spearheaded by the 50cl size, although in the US it is the 1-litre bottle that is the biggest seller. The situation varies greatly in other markets, however: on the Brazilian and Mexican carbonates markets, the two litre PET bottle is the favoured format while the single serve 60cl size is becoming increasingly important in Mexico and the 2.5 litre bottle is making inroads in Brazil.
Other packaging materials have, however, marked time, or even had their volume share of the total beverage market eroded in the period 1998-2002. Metal, for example, which is the third largest sector after glass and PET, has seen cans struggling to retain around a quarter of the world carbonates market and below one per cent of packaged water sales.
Canadean's packaging trends reports provides up-to-date information on all packaging materials, types and sizes used throughout the world for beer, water, carbonates, juices, still drinks, dilutables, iced tea and coffee, and sports and energy drinks.
For further details, and a comprehensive listing of all of Canadean's beverage reports, visit the Market Reports section of BeverageDaily.com.