Rigid plastic is one of the most important packaging types across Western Europe. It has benefited from a boost in sales due to the increased time spent at home, the closure of the on-trade space and lockdown phases in 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. PET bottles is expected to continue leading rigid plastic, as eco-packaging such as recycled PET is set to further expand as consumers and brands seek to embrace more environmentally-friendly practices.
In 2020, the rigid plastic retail market benefited from a relative COVID-19 boost thanks to a transfer of consumption occasions from the on-trade into the retailing space and the need for further hygiene at home. 2021 is set to decline as a counter effect of this channel shift, indeed with the expected reopening of the horeca space by mid-2021, consumers going back to the office, increased social drinking occasions in restaurants and bars, on-trade sales are expected to resume. Beyond 2022, the rigid plastic space is expected to continue to post positive growth as more eco-friendly offerings such as recycled PET are set to become an industry norm, particularly in soft drinks where on-the-go consumption is expected to come back.
HPDE in dairy recorded a major decline across several markets in the region, including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. It is particularly the case in yoghurt and sour milk products, which recorded declining sales as Spanish consumers retained a negative perception of dairy products in general. In France, HDPE suffered from consumers’ changing lifestyles and diets favouring less dairy and the rise of PET milk bottles. This is set to continue over the forecast period.
Smaller size bands across beverages, food and beauty and personal care were synonymous with the on-the-go trend and convenience trend prior to COVID-19. Yet, this slowed in 2020 as a result of lockdowns and increased time spent at home with family/multi-serve sizes in focus. From 2021 onwards, as consumers slowly return to offices, universities and spend more time away from home, it is expected that smaller formats will make a come back in order to accommodate the need for on-the-go occasions.
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