A record decline for the food and beverage sector which is used to an annual average growth of 5% in value.
There are several reasons for these results in 2009:
• Manufacturing prices (= ex-works prices) fell sharply by -8%, in particular due to falling prices of several materials;
• A significant drop in exports, partly due to a strong decline of wine and champagne exports (cumulated -15% for the years 2009/2008).
Although many indicators show a downward trend, the sector is better off than the manufacturing industry as a whole, in particular with production volumes slightly up (+0.9%) as household consumption remained stable in 2009.
THE STAKES OF THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY:
ATTITUDES TOWARDS ENVIRONMENT HAVE PROFOUNDLY
CHANGED; WITH THE CRISIS CUSTOMERS SEEK LOWER PRICES!
The food and beverage (F&B) industries use a lot of packaging, and they want to meet the expectations of their consumers as these are more and more eco-conscious and environmental concerns are now increasingly part of their buying process.
For this reason, the F&B industries now include sustainability requirements in their specifications for suppliers.
Undertakings for sustainable development are also given by retailers for their private label products.
The economic crisis has increased demand for low-price basic consumer goods. This has moved a number of retailers to shift to “keen-price” food ranges and to develop hard discount channels. Demand in such case is for simple and streamlined packaging.
A consequence of the crisis is also that consumers reconsider some aspects of the consumer society and tend to turn away from brands and even to mistrust them. To counteract the desire for less consumption, manufacturers need to restore confidence between consumers and brands, and provide explanations (on health, sustainable development, social programmes) so that shopping becomes delightful again. Packaging is more than ever a tool to engage consumers.
The calling into question of consumer society by consumers is also reflected in their desire to live differently, i.e. they reject levelling down and uniformity when shopping. Hence the need for manufacturers and their brands to hone their marketing positioning and to propose niche products. Packaging has a key differentiating role to play.
Lifestyles change to a more visual and tactile society. Like with his iPhone, the consumer wants packaging to be intuitive and very simple to use. We are in a “zero chores” era: Packaging must be ergonomic for easy gripping and handling, and at the same time dispense food rapidly and easily.
ANSWERS PROVIDED BY PACKAGING MANUFACTURERS
The packaging industry has now to address diverse trends in the food market, which may sometimes appear to be conflicting. In addition to a strong demand for more environmentally friendly packaging, manufacturers also have to meet price expectations, to supply packages which can bear proximity information, which ensure differentiation in terms of volume and graphics or source of innovation.
All these strategies have been implemented for a long time by the packaging industry, for all packaging materials, but they are particularly crucial in these crisis and post-crisis periods.
• More environmentally friendly packaging
Since the first Lalonde decree in 1992 which aimed at organizing domestic packaging waste treatment and setting up the approved company Eco-Emballages – which is responsible for domestic packaging end-of-life management -, several texts have been added to our assortment of environmental regulations on packaging waste management.
One of the most important and recent texts is the EU Directive 2004/12/EC which confirms that the EU policy is moving towards waste reduction. More recently, the Grenelle I law was adopted in France in July 2009 following a Public Consultation on Environment.
These regulations have promoted the development of eco-design for the development of new packaging which includes a complete product lifecycle analysis and the use of different technical levers (e.g. new material developments, technological advancements for material processing).
In concrete terms, the eco-design approach results in:
• Lighter packaging: The unit weight of glass or plastic bottles, cans, yogurt pots or cardboard packs has been significantly reduced;
• Improved packaging recyclability, with focus on monomaterial items, easily separable packaging materials, the development
of recycling schemes, increased reuse of recycled materials for the production of new packaging…;
• Increased use of biodegradable materials and/or biomaterials (derived from renewable materials).
• Competitive packaging
In order to provide their customers with competitive packaging, packaging manufacturers have been using value analysis for many years: use of minimum material with minimum scrap, development of standard packaging, simplified but however
• Innovative packaging
Ergonomic, convenient, easy-opening, resealable, providing assistance to use or prepare the food, or to preserve it, packaging is more and more an integral part of the product.
• Informative packaging
Last media before buying, packaging must more than ever provide information to the consumer. Besides the legal information that must be necessarily mentioned, packaging today needs to provide information on health, product origin, the product’s or manufacturing company’s story (brand storytelling like Alter Eco in ethical commerce, Michel & Augustin…), etc.
Artenius has developed an eco-designed bottle whose weight has been reduced by half and whose composition includes 50% recycled plastic material. Refresco, which specializes in fruit juice bottling for private labels, uses this bottle, and Leclerc was the first retailer to launch it for its orange and multi-fruit nectars. The bottle was recognized with the Ecotop 2009 award by Eco-Emballages. With this bottle Refresco will save 160 tonnes of packaging and reuse 66 tonnes of recycled PET.
Flexico has developed a new range of standard and made-to-measure resealable bags: the biodegradable Biopryl® range.
Biodegradation is ensured by oxidation under the effect of UV rays, heat or mechanical stress. The bags can be printed with biodegradable inks.
CGL Pack proposes a new material, polywood®, which combines the environmental benefits of plant-derived products and the technical benefits of conventional fossil polymers. The incorporated wood fibres come from PEFC labelled forests (Pan European Forest Certificate). This new material is entirely thermoformable and very aesthetic; it offers an unusually high soft touch with this type of tray.
Europlastiques and PlastoBreiz: a new range Easy2snack®, jointly developed by the companies Europlastiques and Plastobreiz. Intended to meet the specific needs of snack consumption, this new range offers three innovations to package deli salads, pie slices and desserts. It combines injection and thermoforming technologies with a specific functionality for each package, i.e. an injected part placed under the pie portion allows to take the pie out of the package and to eat it without burning and dirtying your fingers; a spoon can be easily taken off the dessert bowl lid; and knives and forks are incorporated in a rigid plate which separates them from the salad bowl content. The icing on the cake: the package range is entirely eco-designed.