• English

FCMs Chemicals sectors and intermediate materials Part Six

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Metals and alloys

Metals and alloys are used in a range of different FCM applications, from flexible packaging materials including multi material multilayers and containers to household cooking utensils such as saucepans and coffee pots, as well as in the industrial food processing sector. Different types of metal packaging include food and drink cans, drums and pails, aerosol containers, tubes, open trays, caps, and closures (e.g. lids on glass jars, bottle tops and yogurt and butter containers). Typical metals used in FCMs include aluminum — which in turn may also contain elements such as magnesium, silicon, iron, manganese, copper, and zinc — steel and tin. Metal packaging is often also used in combination with other materials, namely varnishes and coatings, principally for cans, containers, caps, and closures.

The professional association European Metal Packaging Empac brings together more than 200 manufacturers, suppliers and 11 national associations of rigid metal packaging. It counts over 60 000 employees across 26 European countries. Other European professional associations relevant to FCMs include the Association of European Producers of steel for packaging APEAL the European Aluminium Association EAA and the Nickel Institute NI.

With respect to the supply chain, nickel producers supply downstream users such as manufacturers of metal intermediate materials (e.g. producers of stainless steel), which in turn supply end users such as manufacturers of stainless steel articles and other products for the food and beverage industry as well as other sectors. No information on the supply chain was received from EMPAC.

Regarding market volumes and values, according to Europen, 4 612 000 tonnes of metal packaging was placed on the EU market in 2011, a value that has remained stable since 2005. Most of this contribution is from the 15 MSs in the EU prior to 2004. In comparison, the Euromonitor data for volumes in millions of units sold also showed fairly stable values, from 140 665 million units sold in 2004 to 134 865 million in (and 142 000 million in 2011-2013). The data from Euromonitor are also from 2013.

Pira data from 2013 report a total value of around EUR 7 billion for metal FCM packaging. In comparison, the estimated annual turnover from the enterprises reported by Empac was about EUR 15 billion, thus a value of over twice that of Pira, but the Empac data may refer to all metal packaging rather than FCMs only. APEAL estimates a value of EUR 3 billion for steel packaging. Data from Euromonitor (volumes) and Pira (values) indicate that Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom were the most important MSs, in the range of 20-30 billion units sold (volumes) and EUR 700-1 300 million in sales (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Approximate annual volumes and sales of FCM metal packaging by EU Member State

Figure 1: Approximate annual volumes and sales of FCM metal packaging by EU Member State


On the distribution of the size of enterprises accounted for by Empac, 11 % of the members are large companies, 62 % are medium-sized and 22 % are small. With regard to the distribution by size of enterprises, large, medium-sized and small companies account for 88 %, 10 % and 2 %, respectively, of the annual turnover, which would amount to c.EUR 13.7 billion for large enterprises and EUR 1.3 billion for SMEs (for all metal packaging).

The EAA reports similar proportions for its members. On the other hand, Pira data indicate that the share of EU manufacturer sales for FCM metal packaging is more evenly distributed, as illustrated in Figure 2. One explanation could be a difference between food and non-food packaging as Empac represents both.

Figure 2: Approximate manufacturer sales of enterprises supplying metal FCM packaging. Total sales estimated at EUR 7 068 million (source: Pira, 2013)

Figure 2: Approximate manufacturer sales of enterprises supplying metal FCM packaging. Total sales estimated at EUR 7 068 million (source: Pira, 2013)

Since the information from Pira is only based on sales of food and beverage steel cans, casks, drums, cans, boxes and similar containers of aluminium, iron and steel crown corks, it may not truly represent the size of the total market concerning metal FCMs, again possibly excluding kitchenware and tableware, and manufacturing and processing equipment. For example, although no trade details were received from the NI, the International Nickel Study Group INSG reports that the largest use of nickel is in alloying, particularly with chromium and other metals, to produce stainless and heat-resisting steels used for pots and pans, cutlery and food processing equipment, amongst other things. Of the 2 million tonnes of world primary production of nickel, about 390 000 tonnes (approximately 20 %) is used in FCMs, the vast majority of which is used in the production of nickel-containing stainless steels.

Paper and board

Paper and board consists predominantly of bleached or unbleached cellulose fibres (approximately 99 %), along with naturally occurring minerals such as calcium carbonate and natural polymers such as starch. Paper and board may also be constructed from the recycling of these materials. In order to give specific properties to the paper, depending on its intended end use, functional additives are added along with process chemicals or aids that are used to improve the efficiency of the paper-making process but are not intended to remain in the final paper product.

Paper-based packaging products can broadly be divided into different categories, such as paperboard, which is a thick paper-based material used to produce milk and juice cartons, cereal boxes, frozen-food packaging, etc.; corrugated boxes, which can be used as outer packaging not intended to come into direct food contact or for direct-contact use with fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables and take-away foods such as pizzas; and paper bags, which may be intended for direct or indirect food-contact use. Paper shipping bags may also be used for certain commodities such as flour. Paper and board may also be coated, depending on the intended use, or as part of a multilayer multimaterial combination such as Tetra Pak®.

The paper and board sector brings a complexity from the much larger number of European professional associations involved compared to other sectors. The Confederation of European Paper Industries CEPI represents 18 national members, which in turn account for over 95 % of European production.

The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment ACE provides a European platform for beverage carton manufacturers and their paperboard suppliers. Hence all products are FCMs. ACE members include beverage carton producers, who are supplied with paperboard by a small number of companies (often in Sweden and Finland). The beverage carton manufacturers then design, coat and print packaging material according to the requirements of food/drink companies and retailers. As packaging ‘system’ suppliers, they provide these customers not only with the packaging material, but also with the equipment and filling machines.

The International Confederation of Paper and Board Converters in Europe CITPA represents the interests of the paper and board converting industry. CITPA’s membership comprises national federations in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Austria and Portugal, associations at European level such as the European Federation of paper sack manufacturers Eurosac, the European Association of Wax Paper Packaging Materials EuroWaxPack, the trade association for the self-adhesive labelling and adjacent industries FINAT and the European Core and Tubes Association ECTA, and several associate members such as ProCarton, PaperImpact and Cepi Eurokraft. The European Pulp and Paper Chemicals Group (EPCG) represents the suppliers of chemical additives for paper and board.

CITPA also represents the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers FEFCO and the European Carton Makers Associations ECMA. FEFCO has 24 national associations as members, representing a total of 420 companies and 686 plants, mostly with production being derived from recycled content with around half its production supplied for the food industry. ECMA is the European umbrella association for 14 national associations, as well as having 42 companies with a broader European interest as direct members. ECMA represents, indirectly and directly, around 500 carton makers in Europe, supplier members and overseas members. The European Tissue Symposium represents the majority of tissue paper producers in the EU and about 90 % of total European tissue production, including direct company members in Germany, France, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

With regard to the supply chain, the information is illustrated in Table 1.

Association Suppliers Supplying to
CEPI Fibrous and chemical raw material producers Manufacturers of FCM articles (converters)
ACE beverage carton manufacturers and their paperboard suppliers Substance/raw material suppliers:

— round wood, chips, pulp

— process chemicals for pulping/bleaching/

— chemicals for paper making incl. pigment coating

— solvents

Suppliers of formulation to be used in FCM:

— adhesives, printing inks, coating/varnish, masterbatch, holtmelt

FCM producers:

—polymer granules, polymer articles, paperboard manufacturers, aluminium foil suppliers

  • Converters of final FCM paper and board (multilayer multimaterials; beverage cartons)
  • Food producers
  • The majority of the materials are supplied in reels or boxes to converters
ECMA Suppliers of:

— cartonboard (board mills), window plastic film

— paper and board intermediate materials

— final ink, final coating/varnish, adhesive materials

— plastic intermediate materials

Users of final paper and board FCM or articles
FEFCO Paper industry, ink industry and starch industry Converting plants or brand owners/packer fillers
ETS No data No data

Table 1: Overview of organisation of supply chain for paper and board

According to Europen data, 31 780 000 tonnes of paper and board packaging was placed on the market in 2011, a value that has been stable since 2005. Most of this contribution is from the 15 MSs in the EU prior to 2004. Euromonitor data indicates fairly stable values from 108 015 million units sold in 2004 to 119 800 million in 2015.

Specifically for FCM, CEPI has provided a figure of 91 million tonnes in 2014 for the total production of paper and board. Of this figure, packaging delivered within the CEPI area accounted for about 36 million tonnes, and around 38 million tonnes was consumed. The subset for food packaging indicated by CEPI was 13.8 million tonnes produced per year taken from data from the three main sectors of folding box board, corrugated boxes and paper sacks. This equates to approximately 44 % of the total amount of paper and board packaging put on the market annually. ACE estimates beverage cartons alone constitute 1 million tonnes per year. Conversely, ETS states that FCM constitutes a very small proportion of its tissue manufacturers. CEPI reports the overall value of paper and board for FCM from its members (95 % of the entire sector) to be around EUR 81 billion per year. Pira data reported from 2013 indicate a total value of EUR 26.7 billion per year for FCM paper and board, which is around one third of the overall value quoted by CEPI. This is made up of approximately EUR 11 billion for corrugated packaging, EUR 10.2 billion for carton board and EUR 5.5 billion for flexible paper packaging, including paper bags with film layers. Data from both Euromonitor and Pira highlight that Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Spain (in statistical decreasing order) have the greatest share of values and volumes as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Approximate annual volumes (and sales) of FCM paper and board packaging by EU Member State

Figure 3: Approximate annual volumes (and sales) of FCM paper and board packaging by EU Member State

Data from Pira published on their website indicate that the global food contact paper market was valued at approximately EUR 47 billion in 2012, indicating that the European value makes up over half of the total global value. The same data also give information on the share of additional volume demand for food contact paper and board by end-use sector from 2011 estimated up to 2017, represented in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Share of additional volume demand for FCM paper and board by end-use sector, 2011-2017 (source: Pira, 2012)

Figure 4: Share of additional volume demand for FCM paper and board by end-use sector, 2011-2017 (source: Pira, 2012)

The same sources indicate that ‘Global market for food contact paper & board forecast to reach an estimated $70 billion by 2017’. Of the more specific European professional associations, ECMA estimated an annual turnover value of EUR 4 455 million for FCM in 2011 (representing about 70 % of the market), compared with EUR 4 432 million for non-food packaging and an overall value of EUR 8 887 million. CITPA estimates an overall annual production value of around EUR 60 billion. The EPCG also estimated an annual value of approximately EUR 1 billion.

Concerning the types of enterprise, data from Pira for 2013 indicate a relatively even split of small (29.7 %), medium-sized (34.7 %) and large (35.6 %) enterprises across the FCM paper and board packaging sector, which is illustrated in Figure 5. Pira data also indicate a similar split for each of the three main paper and board sectors, although large enterprises account for slightly more as regards corrugated packaging.

Figure 5: Approximate sales of producers of paper and board FCMs. Total sales c.EUR 26.7 billion (source: Pira, 2013)

Figure 5: Approximate sales of producers of paper and board FCMs. Total sales c.EUR 26.7 billion (source: Pira, 2013)

In contrast, the distributions vary to some extent when given by each of the European professional associations. CEPI reported that 67 % of members are SMEs and 33 % are large enterprises. ECMA indicated that, of its 500 members, medium-sized enterprises account for 20 % and small enterprises for 70 %, whereas large enterprises only account for 10 %. In terms of turnover of these members, 50 % comes from large enterprises, with 35 % and 15 % from medium-sized and small enterprises, respectively. The EPCG indicated that 70 % of its members are medium-sized enterprises and 30 % are large enterprises. FEFCO indicated that 25 % of its members are medium-sized enterprises 75 % are large enterprises.

CEPI also notes that, in almost all companies in the paper and board packaging sector, the whole production chain is run in line with food contact standards, as the sector operates large-scale industrial continuous production processes.



Thank you for filling out our form. We will contact you shortly!
Register Now