BPA concerns fuel glass packaging growth - analyst

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Packaging

The safety of BPA has been questioned by several governments, and has been banned for use in food packaging in France.
The safety of BPA has been questioned by several governments, and has been banned for use in food packaging in France.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) safety fears will see the global glass food and beverage packaging segment challenge the ever-expanding plastic packaging industry, an industry report has claimed.

Recent concerns over health risks associated with the chemical and anti-BPA legislation in countries including France have given the glass packaging segment a distinct advantage over its plastic counterpart, said the Visiongain report, The Glass Packaging Market 2012-2022.

FoodProductionDaily.com recently reported on US fears that a BPA food packaging ban in France could “jeopardise”​ US exports.

The global glass packaging market is expected to hit $34.8bn in 2012 – of which food and beverage packaging accounts for the majority.

The report added that demand for sustainable packaging and the purchasing power of emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and CIVET (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt and Turkey) nations will contribute to glass’ continued presence in the food packaging industry.

Chemical migration concerns

“The emergence of microwavable containers has been contributing to the success of plastic packaging in the food packaging market. However, concerns over chemical migration and glass’ premium image give [glass] packaging distinctive advantages,”​ Visiongain analyst Eric Lautier told FoodProductionDaily.com.                   

“There are rising concerns over Bisphenol-A (BPA) migration in food and beverage packaging when the containers are heated. Studies have also showed that migration occurs when products stand on the shelf.”

Recent glass association studies have shown glass to be a consumer-preferred healthier option, Lautier added.

“Glass packaging is oxygen and carbon dioxide proof and does not change the taste or colour of the packaged product. Nothing goes through the glass or leaks from it; neither does it produce any chemical reactions.”

Emerging CIVET growth

Demand from emerging markets will also be a “pivotal”​ factor for growth, with the beverage glass packaging sector expected to capture the biggest share of the rising emerging market demand.

Over the next decade, Visiongain’s Lautier expects these CIVET nations to take over from Brazil, China, India and Russia as the worlds’ major emerging nations.

“Over the past years CIVET countries posted growth rates from 5% to 9% a year.”

“Strong growth is expected in Indonesia which has seen its economy nearly double in the past five years, driven primarily by increases in consumer spending. Furthermore, Indonesia has the lowest unit labour costs in the Asia-Pacific region which makes it highly attractive for manufacturing activity and business investment when unit labour costs are increasing in China,”​ Lautier said.

Hinder competition

However, the glass packaging market still suffers from competition of plastics and paper packaging which capture most of the growth in the global packaging industry.

“In the food sector, glass’s weight and brittleness hinder glass competitiveness in the industry. In addition the relative stable price of PET resin over the past years, allow plastic to appear as a cheaper and lighter packaging option.”

“Demand for sustainable packaging and pressure on cost by consumer-lead companies to look for cheaper and sustainable packaging alternatives. Paper and cardboard packaging appear to be a natural fit to this purpose. The current macroeconomic uncertainty led consumers to tighten their budget; costs became a major factor influencing consumer purchase,”​ added Lautier.

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