Petainer have returned from a month on the road at 2 of the biggest packaging shows in the calendar; Drinktec and Scanpack. It was great to see the packaging world coming together again to share innovations and new ideas to solve the problems of our customers. With Drinktec a global event, and Scanpack a Nordics focused show, we found crossover speaking to companies of all sizes and locations. Below we explore the trends and solutions they are looking for.
Rising energy costs have led to higher packaging costs, with the average unit price increasing causing procurement teams to explore their options. Glass bottles for example have become 80% more expensive than they were last year. Whilst PET plastic is not immune to inflationary pressures, the average cost per unit remains significantly lower than glass bottles and offers, in most cases, a simple switchover. Procurement managers are looking for stable pricing, and successful management of production costs can allow Petainer to offer exactly that through this and next year. Petainer are able to offer PET solutions for traditional glass markets such as water and soft drinks, as well as less traditional markets such as wine and spirits. Wine and spirits are usually packaged in glass and switching across can save lots in terms of weight. Customers benefit from a bottle that is easier to carry on the move and have can offset rising prices themselves by searching for products in PET that will be cheaper than glass.
Petainer Kegs offer similar benefits when compared to their traditional steel counterparts. Steel kegs, being heavy to transport, liable to losses through thefts or mishandling in the supply chain, are becoming a more expensive proposition. With the restart of the on-trade following the Covid lockdowns, strains on the supply chain have not fully recovered, leaving return logistics an awkward extra step not required with one-way kegs. This is where one-way kegs can offer a suitable solution in the market. Where they can also support users is in extending the shelf life of draft products. Utilizing high pressure processing, Petainer kegs can extend a products shelf life, perfect for draft juice and more.
Once a mainstay, refillable bottles are once again coming to the forefront of packaging solutions. Legislation, whilst not formalized is certainly on the horizon, and coupled with a more sustainability minded consumer base, will be a growing market in the coming years. For existing refillable users, the discussion on bottle longevity is one that is always at the forefront. Petainer’s expertise in this field means customers get the most from their products. The other big question we had was simply how to get started in the refillable space. Whilst this question has different answers depending on the country you’re based in; the answer is that it is possible for anyone to transition to a refPET solution. Making the investment to switch to refillable bottles requires a ‘right first time’ design and production, which is achieved with Petainer’s 30 years of experience in refillables. Our combination of theoretical and practical expertise, including a leading in-house refPET laboratory, makes Petainer the ideal partner for refillable PET bottles. Our in depth knowledge of the processes will support in business case development, ensuring that management of stock levels meets expectations therefore reducing unexpected capex investment.
There appeared to be a quickening of the rate of change from refillable polycarbonate to refillable PET water cooler bottles. Whilst BPA is still a concern, it seems it is not the driving factor in this change. High performance, material clarity, and ease of washing are of greater importance. With Petainer’s new reusable 5GAL 650g preform launched on to the market this year, providing cost efficiency and high performance, the new single use 4 gallon preform with 50% rPET will do the same whilst eliminating return logistics and washing equipment.
Lightweighting and legislation
Going hand in hand due to incoming legislation, lightweighting and recycled content were the final big trend to report. Plastics tax, minimum rPET % and tethered caps are EU legislations that are either live or going live by 2024. Tethered caps, essential for all single use (but not refillable) bottles by July 2024, are designed to reduce plastic litter. All Petainer neck finishes can accommodate a tethered closure, and these caps can be added to existing bottling lines. Lightweighting can reduce costs in the long term and will also reduce overall plastic usage. Petainer have worked towards offering lightweight preform solutions, with 26/22 neck finishes implemented this year in the Nordics and more widely available from 2023, and a new 15.5g preform for products of 330 and 500ml.