Alufoil optimism continues, even as flexible packaging demand dips

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Aluminium foil, Packaging, European aluminium foil association

A leading European trade body for the aluminium foil sector has declared that signs of recovery continued to be felt in the first three months of 2011 – although demand for material for some types of food packaging fell slightly.

The European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA) declared that optimism in the sector continued to grow after production rose to 214,400 tonnes in the first quarter - a year-on-year rise of 1.3 per cent.

The group said demand for thicker gauge alufoil of the type used for semi rigid foil trays and technical applications rose by 6 per cent.

However thinner gauges used in the manufacture of flexible packaging and household foil actually fell by 0.7 per cent.

But EAFA director Stefan Glimm said he remained confident hat the sector would continue to grow in the remainder of 2011.

“Expectations are positive for the rest of 2011 with a number of events providing the aluminium foil sector with the opportunity to show off its packaging and industrial prowess,”​ he said. “At interpack 2011, EAFA will be showcasing many of alufoil’s unique properties through its alufoil.”

2010 demand strong

While demand for aluminium for flexible packaging fell this quarter, previous figures have suggested that underlying demand remains steady.

Earlier this year the German alufoil body, Gesamtverband der Aluminium industrie (GDA), said there had been a “significant increase”​ in turnover for aluminium packaging in the country.

But it also warned that high prices for input costs were “clouding the big picture” ​and posed a threat to the competitiveness of the sector.

The industry group said overall production of packaging based on - or including aluminium - rose by 13.6 per cent last year. Some 405,100 tons of aluminium foil, tubes, flexible packaging, and aerosol and beverage cans were produced by German manufacturers in 2010, compared to 356,000 tons the year previously.

“We estimate there was a 5 per cent increase in food packaging and around 10 per cent each for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic packing sectors,”​ Glimm, who is also GDA executive director, told FoodProductionDaily.com. “In terms of production, we have almost reached the level we were at before the crisis. The good situation is being clouded, however, by rising prices for raw materials and higher operating costs, which are squeezing margins.”

The aluminium packaging sector is benefiting from strong consumer sentiment – with climbing demand seen both in the domestic and foreign markets, said GDA aluminium foil chairman Manfred Mertens.

He added that export sales accounted for about 70 per cent of the turnover of the companies in the sector.

Today, the EAFA chief said that exports outside the region remained stable.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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