EU entry bodes well for Polish drinks

Related tags Capita consumption European union Canadean

Poland's accession to the EU in May next year will give a major
boost to beer and carbonate sales, a new report from Canadean
predicts. But these sectors are already showing double-digit
increases, helped by low prices and per capita consumption levels.

The future looks extremely bright for Poland's beverage industry, with EU entry in 2004 expected to bring further growth to a market which grew by a healthy 12 per cent last year alone.

A new report from Canadean​ suggests that the healthy volume increases of previous years are likely to be surpassed this year, helped by the Polish government's decision to remove restrictions on advertising and, crucially, not to implement a planned tax increase on the all-important beer sector.

A tax hike would have seriously curbed growth in the buoyant beer market, which Canadean said grew by 9 per cent last year despite already accounting for almost one third of the packaged beverage market. This, the report suggests, is because per capita consumption is still relatively low there, as are prices, while a hot summer in 2002 also contributed to the increase.

As far as the preferred packaging formats are concerned, can volume (mainly 50cl) was up in 2002, taking almost 35 per cent of fillings, while refillable glass continued its long-term decline - losing another 3 per cent.

If PET bottles have made only a minor impact on the beer market the same cannot be said of the packaged water sector, where almost 84 per cent of all litreage is now packaged in non-refillable PET. Despite this, Canadean said, per capita consumption is still low by west European standards, leaving scope for expansion.

The main beneficiary will be PET, which has yet to reach its full potential, while the traditional glass bottle continues to decline, having fallen from almost a quarter of sales at the turn of the century to less than 17 per cent of total packaged water fillings in 2002. Non-refillable PET also made a major contribution to the substantial growth experienced by both the carbonates and still drinks sectors and is expected to do so again this year.

Despite the emphasis on PET, the report also outlines the importance of other materials on the Polish market. Metal's share of total beer and soft drinks fillings rose by more than a third last year - mainly due to its successes in the beer and carbonates sectors. These are attributed to the can being a relatively low cost pack with additional savings in transport costs compared to PET.

PET is, furthermore, conspicuous by its absence from the expanding juice and nectars sector, where the long-life carton remained the dominant pack type continuing on a growth curve that is predicted to last into 2003. Where cartons have lost out - in single-serve - it has been to non-refillable glass. Low per capita consumption means that there is further scope for current expansionary trends to continue, the report suggests.

However, there is no denying the growing importance of PET as a packaging material on the Polish market. Non-refillable PET last year amounted to 43 per cent of fillings and is leading the trend towards non-refillable packs as a whole - these now account for more than 75 per cent of total beverage packs.

Canadean said that Poland's forthcoming EU membership would undoubtedly help boost sales, not just of beer, but also of those soft drinks categories which currently have a low per capita consumption compared with western Europe.

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