The European economic climate may remain uncertain with the recovery showing signs that it is losing momentum, but it was the warm weather in many markets in quarter 2 that raised thirst levels and drinks demand in the first half of 2011. The hot spring weather across much of the region was good news for beverage packaging manufacturers and this was reflected in the jump of 6% in unit sales reported by the beverage can industry association Beverage Can Makers Europe.
Soft drinks were the main benefactors of the good conditions and BCME figures show a healthy can sales increase of 8% on the comparable period in the first half of 2010. This compares to an overall increase of 2% across the soft drinks category according to research company Canadean. Of course carbonated soft drinks enjoy hot conditions but the irrepressible energy drink category has made another valuable contribution to the performance. The category remains in the growth stage of its lifecycle and this bodes well for future prospects for both cans and energy drinks.
Though economic anxieties of recent times have affected beer sales in Europe’s bars and restaurants, with an overall increase of just 0.4%, there was an encouraging rise in beer can unit sales of between 2 and 3% in the first half of the year as the bulk of can sales take place in supermarkets.
Eastern Europe, which was hit harder by the financial crisis of 2008 than Western Europe, has seen quicker recovery in terms of overall beverage can volumes with an increase of 10% when compared to the West’s 5% rise. However, the rise in the Western European beverage market is encouraging as the market is more mature and subsequently more challenging than its neighbour. Beer consumption in West Europe had been wavering even before the economic upheaval of 2008, so the small rise in beer can use in 2011 is worthy of merit.
Stakeholders in the beverage can industry will be buoyed by the fact that the results show that the can market in West Europe is outperforming the overall beverage market in the region; as a packaging format, cans are taking share from other beverage packaging alternatives.