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Aluminium foil growth driven by flexible packaging demand, says EAFA

By Joe Whitworth , 07-Nov-2012

The first nine months of this year showed a positive development for the European manufacturers of aluminium foil, according to the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).

The trade body said 618,500 tonnes were delivered compared to 611,400 tonnes in 2011, representing an increase of 1.2%.

Key end markets for alufoil include bakery, confectionery, dairy and beverage packaging.

Thinner gauges of alufoil mainly used for flexible packaging was up by more than 1% while thicker gauges typically used for semi-rigid containers decreased by 5%.

Packaging end use

Guido Aufdemkamp, director of communication, told FoodProductionDaily.com around 75% of European production is used for packaging and household foil.

“Despite the economic uncertainty in Europe we still see an increase which is good news. The food supply chain is not affected as much by the economic turbulence, it is more stable than sectors such as automotive which can have huge highs and lows.

“Technical performance, marketing, sustainability and changes in pack size all change, there is no major trend, it is hard to pinpoint exact reasons.”

Exports outside the EAFA region improved by 12%, indicating a recovery in demand from emerging markets and others outside Europe such as North America and Asia.

Uncertain planning

“Planning on the customer side becomes uncertain and they are not willing still to plan and order just what they need to keep stocks low which makes it hard. The volumes may not go up but the number of orders does because of this,” he added.

“There is a positive outlook for the future, with a slight increase this year to continue in quarter one but beyond that is difficult to predict.”

Members of the Flexible Packaging Europe group include Amcor, Berry Plastics, Novelis, Printpack and Wipak.

Manfred Mertens, EAFA vice-president and roller group chairman, said: “The slight increase in deliveries should last at least until the end of the year although the uncertainties of the economic situation in the near future grow.

“The trend for short deliveries continues making predictions and planning more difficult. The European aluminium foil producers can partly serve those needs with their flexibility and close to market operations.”

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