Cans continue to perform well

Figures released by Beverage Can Makers Europe (BCME) show that cans continued to gain an increasing share of the packaging mix during the first quarter of 2012.

After reporting strong full year results in 2011, the BCME results suggest that in the first quarter of 2012, can filling has not only maintained its growth from last year but has seen production rates accelerate.

Both East and West Europe have contributed to the 7% jump in can shipments in the first three months of 2012 compared to the same period last year. The results highlight how the beverage can is winning over more of Europe’s consumers despite the testing trading environment.

Beer consumption in particular has been vulnerable to Europe’s economic uncertainties but cans have again defied the statistics and big tax rises in some important markets to record a stunning double digit rise in fillings so far this year. Of note has been the French and Portuguese beer can shipments increase of around a third and Denmark’s surge of almost a fifth. The Danish results reflect the strength of the border trade following the government’s sizeable tax rise at the turn of the year. Much of the border trade is supplied from Denmark and is dominated by drinks packed in cans.

Can use in the soft drinks industry remains on an upward curve as well, with shipments rising by 3% during the opening months of the year. This rate would have been greater but for reversals in Poland and Portugal. The high profile implementation of the soft drink’s tax in France also looks to have impacted as well, prompting a small decline in France further diluting the overall growth rate for the region. Once again the influence of the energy drink category is evident with Austrian and Swiss fillings up by 19%. There appears to be little sign of an end to the energy drink boom in Europe.

The results for both beer and soft drinks are undoubtedly upbeat but there are two factors which may have amplified the results. An earlier Easter may have lifted the March results despite the actual holiday period falling into the early part of the second quarter while there is also likely to have been an upturn in fillings as the big soft drink and beer players prepare for the European Football Championships in Poland and the Ukraine and the Olympics in London. Both sporting spectacles should have a positive effect on beverage demand as a whole.

The BCME represents the interests of a number of can makers.

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