Back on track

The latest statistics from BCME (Beverage Can Makers Europe) show that despite tough economic conditions last year, there was strong growth in the beverage can market in Europe.

In 2010, the European beverage can market hit 54.1 billion cans, up 5.2 per cent from 2009. The UK market fared particuarly well and reached an important milestone in 2010, passing the nine billion can mark, up seven per cent on 2009.

The UK soft drinks market increased by 12.3 per cent on 2009 and the dynamism of the sector is shown by the fact that shipments have increased by one billion in two years. In 2010, soft drinks represented over 50 per cent of all drinks can shipments for the first time since 2002.

Within the overall soft drinks market, carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) outperformed other soft drinks in 2010 with fruit carbonates up nine per cent and cola up eight per cent. From a small base, energy drinks and sports drinks showed the biggest growth with increases of 18 and 10 per cent respectively.

Growth in the soft drinks category was shown across Europe, with figures up 7.5 per cent year on year, with 26.4 billion cans shipped. Beer market growth was 3.2 per cent or a total of 27.7 billion cans shipped. The main regional drivers for soft drinks growth were Austria, UK, Scandinavia, Germany and Turkey, whilst Scandinavia, France and Germany pushed beer market growth. New filling lines in France and Scandinavia also contributed to the strong growth figures, whilst the energy drinks market continues to expand rapidly across Europe.

Commenting on the new statistics, BCME marketing committee chairman Caroline Archer, said: “2010 was a difficult year for many with decreased consumer spending and heightened economic tension. However, the beverage can market was one of the success stories. Major brands continue to push the can as a key part of their pack mix and the use of slim and sleek cans has increased markedly. As predicted, the World Cup had a strong positive influence on beverage can consumption, particularly for beer cans as they are convenient for consumers when socialising at home with friends.”

Focusing on the UK

Alcohol in cans in the UK is primarily beer and cider, with a small but growing wine sector.

In 2010 the volume of cans shipped increased to 4.5 billion, up 91 million over 2009.

At-home drinking has helped drive this growth as the long-term trend favouring take home beer over consumption in pubs has increased during the recession. Cider, with its strong appeal to young people, has been the best performing sector of the market with the volume of cider sold in cans up nine per cent year on year.

Cans had a 67 per cent pack share for beer and cider in 2010 and in the four weeks leading up to the Christmas period they took market share from glass bottles. Multipacks continue to be the main sales tool, with 12’s the fastest growing pack size and 4’s and 15’s the most popular.

Domestic consumption also drove growth in Germany, with consumption growing by around 300 million cans, a 46 per cent increase on 2009. This has, in no small part, been driven by the re-listing of cans in two major supermarket chains, highlighting widespread consumer acceptance of the beverage can.

“Beverage cans offer fillers, retailers and consumers benefits such as convenience, supply chain efficiency and outstanding product integrity. Cans are uniquely sustainable, being made from metals that are permanent materials so they are 100 per cent recyclable and the metal can be recycled indefinitely to create new products. Using recycled aluminium to make new products saves 95 per cent of the energy associated with the production of virgin metal and for steel the equivalent figure is 75 per cent. It is important to note that the beverage can is the most recycled drinks pack in the world,” adds Archer. “Through infrastructure improvements and initiatives to improve consumer recycling behaviour, BCME is committed to supporting further increases in recycling rates throughout Europe.”

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