Trends in the packaging sector in Spain: PET bottles

PET bottles are the object of most empty bottle unscramblers available on the market, and they are also the preferred material for the drinks industry in the whole world, hence the importance of monitoring changes in their use and evolution in the bottling sector.

The PET bottling sector in Spain is currently one of the most dynamic and has taken advantage of the economic recovery in the country, expecting growth to continue, thus spurring large investment projects.

These were some of the conclusions of the Report on the PET container market in Spain, presented at the end of 2018 by Alimarket Envases.

This report also presents conclusions on issues such as investment, production, sales, market share, environmental repercussion and the opening of new markets in the PET container sector for food and non-food.

Manufacturers of PET bottles beat production records

One of the most highlighted pieces of information by Alimarket Envases is that Manufacturers of PET bottles in Spain exceeded 10,000 million preforms manufactured, beating a hitherto inaccessible production milestone and placing the PET bottle sector at a new productive height which is expected to be again surpassed this year.

 

This increased production of PET bottles is mainly due to an expansion of the beverage market in Spain. An increase spurred by two of the principal motors of PET bottle production: The bottled water and soft drinks industries.

Concerning figures, the report quotes, using IRI data, that bottled water industries produced 3,992 Ml in 2017 while the soft drinks industry ended 2017 with a slight fall to 4.340 Ml, in comparison to the previous year, when 4,397 Ml were produced, according to Global Data.

The growing number of  PET bottles produced every year, together with constant activity in the drinks industry, highlights the importance of improving production processes and the use of specialized machinery for handling these types of containers: Unscramblers, rinsers, depalletizers, and conveyor machines for PET bottles.

Possible threats to PET bottle production

The Alimarket container report also mentions two possible threats that, in the medium-term- could affect progress in the  PET bottles market and limit its growth.

Firstly, the strong marketing campaigns against soft drinks and their high sugar content. Being considered a public health priority in the European Union and in which Spain has advanced quite a lot with regard to institutional discourse and public opinion.

In this regard, some soft drinks manufacturers have already begun to take action; offering their products in smaller formats and trying to replace sugar, without leaving aside healthy habits campaigns.

The second threat to progress in PET bottles mentioned in the report is related to the new Circular Economy model of production promoted by the European Union, which prioritizes product sustainability and minimum environmental impact.

Due to this new economic model, materials such as plastic are becoming very unpopular with consumers. Up to now, PET bottles had remained outside this controversy, but the behavior of consumers is so unpredictable that producers are forced to innovate by using other materials, resulting in a series of more sustainable formats such as rPET bottles (made of recycled PET).

In line with the circular economy idea, companies manufacturing machinery are already designing equipment focused on production line energy efficiency. Offering producers specific solutions for handling PET bottles, which as well as simplifying and improving production processes, they also save energy and minimize the environmental footprint.