Interview Synopsis

Food & beverage packaging sector – emerging trends & opportunities

  • Multi Asset
  • Materials
  • North America

Several forces are shaping food and beverage packaging trends, namely environmental concerns, recycling capacity and regulation, and shifting consumer behaviours. Third Bridge Forum spoke to a former VP at Ball Corp to discuss these in detail, particularly in light of COVID-19.

With more people working and cooking at home because of the pandemic, the first trend noted by the specialist was the growth in canned products, representing a significant opportunity for companies like Kraft and Campbell’s to broaden their market. Although some negative perceptions of canned food prevail, the expert said this was a “misunderstanding” because cans are safe and fresh — in many ways more so than fresh produce transported across long distances. Pet food is another high-growth area for the canned market, with the pandemic influencing new lifestyles, according to the Interview.

Also on the agenda was sustainability, which the specialist said would be a “huge issue over the next 10 years” for packaging — from a consumer interest and regulatory perspective. Indeed, glass is set to be the “big loser” because of high carbon emissions and transportation costs. The future for PET “is going to be interesting because it’s highly recyclable,” the specialist said. However, the challenge today is that the infrastructure is lacking. 

The expert anticipates corporations like Pepsi and Coke to “push for an increase in capacity for recycled [PET] material”, which will boost community recycling as well as the value of the material. Meanwhile, although aluminium currently enjoys an advantage because it’s easy to recycle, manufacturers risk facing mounting pressure over carbon emissions and thus a shift towards PET may eventually occur. Although flexible packaging is gaining momentum as consumers seek greater visibility of what they’re buying, recycling challenges exist here, too. 

Moving on to beverage packaging, the Interview revealed that all types have been in high demand due to a shortage of manufacturing capacity, with more drinks being consumed off-premise. The expert also praised plastic and can manufacturers for being “so innovative over the last several years”, in the shaping of containers and graphics, and foresees strong growth as a result. 

In terms of the competitive landscape, we heard that Ball, Ardagh and Crown and Can-Pack are all “in a good position to be successful” in the cans segment. The specialist also offered their thoughts on industry M&A potential across food and beverage packaging.  

To access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s Food & beverage packaging sector – emerging trends & opportunities Interview, click here to view the full transcript. 

The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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