- Output of Dutch packaging industry set to grow in 2017 and 2018
- Circular production of plastics packaging could deliver raw material savings of up to €105 million per year in The Netherlands
- Pressure on margins and need for innovation spur further international consolidation
Revenue of Dutch packaging industry set to reach €6.5 billion in 2018
The output of the Dutch packaging industry will grow by 2.0 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively in 2017 and 2018. This means revenue should rise from around €6.3 billion in 2016 to around €6.5 billion in 2018. This growth is being driven principally by the upturn in consumer spending, the strong increase in online retail sales and sustained growth in exports. The volume of plastic packaging in particular is set to grow by 2.5 per cent and 2.0 per cent respectively in 2017 and 2018. Plastics accounted for approximately 43 per cent of revenue in 2016 (€2.7 billion), but made up only 18 per cent by weight. The weight reduction offers many advantages, delivering lower material and transport costs as well as environmental savings. Over the past 10 years, for example, the weight of plastic packaging has decreased by around 30 per cent.
Dutch packaging industry can achieve considerable annual savings on raw materials
Although the recycling targets for almost all packaging materials are being met – in 2015 three-quarters of all packaging was already being recycled – the percentages differ substantially among the various materials. Almost all metal packaging, for example, is recycled, but only 51 per cent of plastic packaging returns as another product or pack. Although this is a very good result from an international perspective, the percentage could be further increased if manufacturers took account of recycling in the design of the packaging, for example by designing it in such a way that it could be more easily refilled and reused. Restricting the range of plastic types, dyes and additives used would also improve recyclability and hence value retention. We believe this circular approach could lead to annual raw material savings of €70 to €105 million in the Netherlands.
Consumers force packagers to invest in material knowledge and new machinery
Companies must develop sufficient capability to anticipate the changing consumer requirements. Single-person households, for example, increasingly want small packs, while elderly people want easy-to-open packs. Customers are making demands in terms of shape, quality, printing, personalisation and environmental friendliness. Examples are the possibility of interaction by means of QR codes and increasing interest in biobased packs, That requires technological innovation in the form of investments in material knowledge and new machinery. It is difficult for smaller businesses to meet this requirement independently. We therefore expect further consolidation in the Dutch packaging industry, with strong interest among foreign investors.