Each industry, market or region bear their own specifics, the understanding of which is key to successful business. There are several important aspects to take into account in the “today” of Central-Eastern Europe, when considering trade or investment activities into the packaging industry.
Fig 1: Expected real GDP growth for 2018 in EU Member States
¡ -Price vs demand tactics, targeted mainly to offer low priced products, in safe and large PET bottles.
¡ Marketing campaigns aimed to underline the “everlasting promotions”,
¡ Private connections with local authorities, sometimes beyond what would be considered “fair play”,
¡ And eventually, clever ways of acquiring and using the EU funds for technologies.
BEER IN PETOne of the most noteworthy observations when comparing the markets of CEE with Western Europe and other regions globally - is the high share of PET bottles among the packaging containers for beer. Certainly the markets of Russia and Ukraine, although recently in downturn due to legislation, contribute to the large quantities. Within the CEE the dominance of PET to fill PET mainly seen in the southern countries of CEE – Romania, Bulgaria and the Balkans – countries where beer was not traditionally the leading alcoholic beverage and in many cases – established it’s market presence almost from scratch. Again – the reason for PET bottle dominance is the competitive price of 1,5-2,5 litre containers against glass and cans. Quality played in this matter a secondary role. Note that the majority of PET beer bottles in CEE are single-layer, but with a sufficient shelf life to make it through the logistics and outlets to the consumers. Of course one has to keep in mind the fact the scale of beer PET bottle production – these are mainly 2-4 lines per brewery, blowmoulding machines with typically 10-16 moulds. Thus incomparable to the large scale of water or CSD packaging. Still, beer in PET remains a segment that will play a more significant role if another crisis looms.
CONCLUSIONOpportunity: growing GDP and salaries – as seen on the attached map - the green colour clearly shows today’s leaders in the GDP growth in Europe – and one can easily recognise the region we are talking about. Challenge: workforce supply – a large number of qualified engineers, operators and specialists have found jobs in Western countries of the EU. This causes significant problems for the businesses in CEE to continue to operate with a low- cost workforce. Solution: R&D and innovations. Businesses and governments of Central-Eastern Europe are now much more seriously supporting high-tech advancements, start-ups and innovative ways of increasing production, quality and sustainability. It will be a matter of years, or maybe even months, until we will see the newest automation, productivity and Industry 4.0 solutions – implemented earlier in Central Eastern Europe than anywhere else in the world.
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