Germany's ageing population will need innovative packaging solutions

The need for lightweight, protective packaging solutions in the food and personal care sectors will sustain the growth of plastics in Germany, says Canadean. By 2055, over half of the German population will be aged 65 or over.

This ageing population will result in demand for easy-to-use, easy-to-handle packaging with clearer and bolder labelling. An older population will see an increase in the number of smaller households, and manufacturers will need to focus on smaller packaging in order to reduce waste and conserve space. With this in mind, Nestlé has introduced a space-saving cup-shaped flexible pouch for its instant soups. Cost concerns will hinder the ability of packaging manufacturers to meet all of these requirements. For example, the rising costs of raw materials meant sales of plastic film across consumer and non-consumer markets as sales fell by 0.4% in 2012.

Despite this, plastics are still the most popular packaging material in Germany, with rigid plastics holding the highest share of the sector in 2012 thanks to its malleability, versatility and lightweight nature, making it convenient, flexible and easy to use. This can be seen in Sealpac's introduction of the TenderPac, a flexible plastic system ideal for storing red meats in ambient conditions. In addition, the light weight lowers transportation and storage costs.

The German packaging industry will grow at an annual rate of 1.05% (by volume in million units) up to 2017. The need for lightweight, protective packaging in the food and personal care sectors will push rigid plastics to display the highest value growth of the sector over the next five years, at an annual rate of 1.88%. Generally heavier and more fragile, glass will decline at an annual rate of -0.36% for the same period.

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