Canadian packaging trends in 2017 were dominated by greater demand for products that could be used for multiple consumption occasions and that also fit widespread concerns about recycling and sustainability. In packaged food, beauty and personal care, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, this meant packaging innovations centred on portability either by favouring smaller pack sizes or resilient materials that are suitable for various, often casual, consumption occasions.
The Packaging in Canada report offers insight into key trends and developments in the industry. The report also examines trends and prospect for various pack types and closures: metal packaging, rigid plastic, glass, liquid cartons, paper-based containers; flexible packaging.
Coming changes in demographics to affect packaging
Almost all products are delivered in some form of packaging, which enhances transportability, product protection and shelf life, and additionally serves to differentiate products by communicating brand messages like quality and performance.
Packaging consumption is driven by changes in consumer demand for convenience and portability, in addition to new product and package innovations. The growth in packaging remains in line with overall population growth of 3% per annum, but demographic and social trends are bound to affect growth going forward. For example, smaller households tend to significantly consume more packaging than larger households do, in part due to purchasing more quantities of smaller and single serve goods as opposed to bulk-size products. With a growing number of singles and couples - which are part of the baby boom echo generation - this trend is expected to intensify over the forecast period.
The environment is a concern
Social trends, particularly towards conservation and concern for the environment already altered the state of packaging in Canada and the US in particular. The use of flexible plastic refill packs for hair care are personal products is but one example of consumer demand for less packaging. Bio-plastics like PLA have seen wide adoption by retailers like Wal-Mart who seek to further strengthen their corporate record for environmental responsibility.
Industry concentration is high in the glass, metal and paper segments with two to five companies controlling approximately 90% of the market, and medium in the rigid plastic, flexible plastic and closure segments with 10 to 15 companies controlling about half the market. In Canada, the presence of large, US and foreign-based manufacturers makes up the bulk of competitors, while a few large domestic companies like Alcan operate packaging divisions of importance. Still, Canadian players like CCL Industries Inc, Norampac, Cascades and Atlantic Packaging field a significant presence in the Canadian packaging industry.
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