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Packaging (Metals and Aerosols) Market Report
Key Note Publications Ltd, January 2000
It is estimated by Key Note that apparent UK demand for metal packaging will reach £2.29bn by the end of 2000 and that this will represent a total increase of around 10% in apparent demand, from £2.08bn 1996. This slow growth in demand reflects both the narrow range of markets served by metal packaging and the strength of competition from alternative materials such as plastic, glass and cartonboard.The food and drink industries are the principal outlets for tin-coated (and tin-free) steel and aluminium open-top cans, which account for the largest market sector in metal packaging, and these are followed in importance by the market sectors for aerosol cans, general line cans and tins, metal closures, aluminium foil, collapsible tubes, barrels and drums, and other bulk containers including strappings and stillages, cable reels, storage tanks and vessels.The metal packaging industry is very large within the packaging industry as a whole, and in some product areas steel and aluminium are the dominant materials because they are traditionally regarded as the best for the markets they serve.However, steel and aluminium are not irreplaceable, as technology has improved the performance of rival materials in almost all of the packaging markets where metal is currently supreme. Small plastic and glass bottles are a growing threat to the popularity of single-serve beverage cans supplied to the soft drinks and beer markets. The steep growth in demand for a wide variety of ready meals in microwaveable containers threatens demand for food cans, for which the best-selling product lines tend to be of fairly basic staple foods.Much of the consumer demand for products with metal packaging is determined by impulse buying, so presentation and availability are key factors. Most cans are of a standard structure and appearance. However, market differentiation is very important to the industry's customers, so there is a strong incentive for designers to offer more individual shapes as well as a variety of colours. Technical innovations have concentrated on reducing material cost by downgauging the metal content and eliminating some of the assembly processes. There is also increasing emphasis on improving the appearance of the can, in view of the threat from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers, which can be blow-moulded into shape and size.Few market areas have good growth potential, so there are many mergers and amalgamations among the top companies to grow their market shares by acquisition. Large companies in the industry are being bought by other large companies, e.g. the recent acquisition of American National Can Group Incorporated by Rexam PLC.Key Note estimates that the apparent UK market for metal packaging will grow very slowly over the period from 2001 to 2005, with an average annual increase of around 2%, rising from £2.33bn in 2001 to £2.54bn by 2005.