The year 2021 saw people leaving their homes more and getting back into their regular routines in the Netherlands after the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic in 2020. However, some habits, like prioritising hygiene and cleanliness, continued into 2021.
A new trend being adopted in 2021 was air-free/airless packaging, with the packaging ensuring that the product does not come into contact with air, thus keeping it fresher and enabling a longer packaging life. Another trend being seen was the improvement of existing pack types to cater to the latest demands, such as the manufacturing of lightweight glass.
Thin wall plastic containers were continuing to replace flexible aluminium/paper packaging for butter and spreads in 2021, as they provide more scope for recycling. The unit volumes of brick liquid cartons used for the packaging of drinking milk products were seeing strong growth in 2020 and 2021, as they are convenient to pack, stack and deliver.
Alcoholic drinks saw a spike in off-trade sales in 2020, but a collapse in on-trade packaging unit volumes. However, with restrictions easing somewhat in 2021, on-trade sales of alcoholic drinks recorded a strong rebound, albeit with unit volumes still lower than pre-pandemic levels, while growth in off-trade sales slowed.
The usage of glass bottles continued to decline in soft drinks in 2021. Metal beverage cans continued to gain share in soft drinks in 2021, outperforming PET bottles, as cans are popular due to their light weight and as being a better option for recycling.
In 2021, many brands launched more eco-friendly packing. Honestly, a beauty start-up, launched a waterless biodegradable three-in-one body wash, exfoliator and moisturising scrub.
Following the spike in demand seen in 2020, when the cleaning and hygiene trends were at their peak when the pandemic hit the country, as people started leaving their homes more again in 2021, either to return to the office or school, or even for leisure purposes, with COVID-19 restrictions being eased, PET and HDPE bottles, major pack types for products like kitchen, bathroom or multipurpose cleaners, saw a decline in this year. Folding cartons in dishwashing tablets saw a decline in 2021, after a demand spike in 2020, although they are expected to record an improved performance in 2022.
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