According to annual statistics from the European Manufacturers of Corrugated Packaging (FEFCO), volumes in the first few months of 2010 have so far exceeded results from 2007, before the financial crisis hit.
This improvement comes on the back of what the trade association called a “difficult year for the industry” as the overall volume of shipments dropped 4.9 per cent from 2008 levels to 39bn sq metres.
Food sector demand
FEFCO said the relative stability of the figures is down to the consumer base, with 46.3 per cent of shipments going to the food and drink, agriculture and tobacco industries.
Angelika Christ, secretary general, told FoodProductionDaily.com that demand from the food sector has been pretty stable.
While consumers may choose cheaper food products in a recession, Christ said the overall quantity consumed remains similar and it is the quantity and not the quality of food sold that influences packaging demand.
Corrugated board dominates the secondary packaging market in the food industry, and according to Christ there is little difference in demand levels between the luxury and discount segments.
Processed food brands are under pressure to cut back on unnecessary packaging but Christ does not expect this drive to have a negative impact on demand and claimed the industry is in fact profiting from it.
He said: “Thanks to our closed recycling loop, we can only really win when the question of sustainability comes up.”
Corrugated board is usually used as a mono-material and can therefore be recycled easily. Each fibre can be reused about seven times before becoming unsuitable for further recycling.