Rigid Plastic Packaging in Latin America

May 2023

Despite the ever-increasing concerns about single-use plastic and waste management, rigid plastic packaging continues to be heavily used in Latin America, and is also seeing positive growth rates in this region. Attributes such as convenience, practicality, portability and storage efficiency remain relevant, trumping environmental concerns, especially as many economies in the region continue to grapple with economic or political instability as well as the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Despite rising concerns about sustainability, rigid plastic continues to grow in Latin America

The use of rigid plastic packaging in Latin America continues to increase. PET bottles in beverages is its main area of application, although thin wall plastic containers in food and HDPE bottles across a number of industries are also being heavily used in this region. The majority of packaging regulation is aimed at curbing plastic waste, particularly in single-use formats. However, the growing use of rPET or bioplastics is helping meet the rising sustainability concerns with regard to this type of packaging.

Chile introduces tough restrictions on single-use plastic

Chile implemented the most aggressive national packaging sustainability regulations in the Americas with a 2021 law that aims to eliminate single-use food and beverage packaging. However, it is strictest for foodservice players like takeaway outlets, and less so for retail outlets, which have a sliding target for recyclability of plastic bottles going from 15% in 2025 to 70% by 2060 and making returnable beverage bottles available and accepting used bottles.

PET bottles in soft drinks the most popular application of rigid plastic

The PET bottle remains a major feature of soft drinks packaging in Latin America, accounting for more than 80% of total retail unit volumes in bottled water and more than 60% in carbonates, with respective totals of more than 19,000 PET bottles and almost 27,000 used in each industry. PET bottles account for 54% of overall packaging unit volumes in Latin America, well ahead of HDPE bottles (16%) and thin wall plastic containers (11%).

Positive growth expected for rigid plastic packaging over the forecast period

Rigid plastic packaging unit volumes are expected to increase over the forecast period. Accounting for around a quarter of overall packaging used, its main areas of application will continue to be in beverages and packaged food, although it will also remain an important pack type in both home care and beauty and personal care.

Key findings
Modest growth for rigid plastic in Latin America over 2016-2021
PET bottles the leading rigid plastic pack type in Latin America
Growth expected in the coming years after the market disruptions seen in 2016-2021
Shortages hampering the drive to use more rPET
Brazil and Mexico the leading users of rigid plastic packaging in the region
Argentinian performance negatively impacted by economic difficulties
Growth in Brazil and Mexico, but stagnation or decline in Argentina
Coca-Cola tops 90% rate for its universal returnable bottle initiative in Brazil
PET bottles account for more than 80% of bottled water packaging unit volumes
Widespread use of HDPE bottles in the home care industry
Dairy products dominate regional usage of thin wall plastic containers
Smaller pack sizes most popular in rigid plastic packaging
Plastic screw closures dominate rigid plastic packaging
Carbonates in PET bottles lead the returnables drive in Latin America
Mexico is the biggest user of rigid plastic packaging in beverages…
…but Brazil will record the most absolute growth in this pack type for beverages
Brazil the major user of rigid plastic in food packaging…
…and will also record the most absolute growth in this pack type for food
Brazil is the biggest beauty and personal care country market in rigid plastic…
…but Mexico will record the most absolute growth in this pack type over 2021-2026
Brazil the biggest rigid plastic home care market…
…and will also add the most absolute growth in this pack type over 2021-2026
Argentina: Market Context
Argentina: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Brazil: Market Context
Brazil: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Colombia: Market Context
Colombia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Mexico: Market Context
Mexico: Competitive and Retail Landscape


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