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Food Contact Materials Chemicals sectors and intermediate materials Part 7

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Food Contact Materials for Regenerated cellulose

Regenerated cellulose is manufactured by the conversion of natural cellulose to a soluble cellulosic derivative and subsequent regeneration, typically forming either a fibres or a film specially Alger, M., Polymer science dictionary (second edition, 1996). The raw materials used to manufacture regenerated cellulose casings are cellulose pulp, plasticisers, and water. Pure cellulose or reinforced fibrous casings are typically used for cooked and smoked meats such as sausages and hams, along with cheeses. Regenerated cellulose film, more commonly known by the trademarked name Cellophane, is a thin transparent sheet. It is commonly used as packaging material, particularly for certain greasy foods such as baked goods, confectionary, nuts, dried fruits, and spices.

The Comité International de la Pellicule Cellulosique (Cipcel) has been transformed into the European Man-Made Fibres Association CIRFS, which is the representative body for the European man-made fibres industry. 100 % of CIRFS members are medium-sized enterprises, and they have an estimated annual turnover of about EUR 300 million in food contact. No further data was received on the supply chain or trade values.

No trade data was received or available from EU databases and sources.

Food Contact Materials for Cork

Cork is an impermeable, light, buoyant and elastic material derived primarily from the bark of the cork oak tree that is common to southern European countries, such as Portugal, France, Spain and Italy (in decreasing statistical order), and north-west Africa. Its properties make it suitable for acoustic and thermal insulation in house walls, ceilings, facades and wall tiles, but its primary use is as bottles stoppers, especially for wine bottles. Cork closures and stoppers are produced using natural and composite cork. A wide range of different corks exist, from natural cork stoppers to agglomerated corks, colmated corks (which means cork stoppers that have sealed lenticels or are finished with disks of a mixture of glue and cork powder) and capsulated corks, to which wood or plastic disks have adhered.

cork FCMs Chemicals sectors and intermediate materials filler masterbatch

The European Cork Federation C.E.Liège represents the entire European cork industry and leads the development of joint promotions supporting cork, its products and applications. C.E.Liège represents six national federations from Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. The principal roles of C.E.Liège are to carry out research, to establish international standards and to share knowledge with other institutes and viticultural organisations. Natural cork is currently used for around 70 % of wine bottles produced, with screw caps and plastic corks accounting for just under one third. In context, the wine industry is one of the leading segments in European agriculture, with a production of 17.4 billion litres and revenues of EUR 16.4 billion. The EU accounts for 60 % of worldwide wine production. Encork, a core group of European SMEs and R & D organisations, reports on its website that Portugal produces around 80 % of the world’s cork, followed by Spain. According to Encork, wine corks represent two thirds of the cork industry by value, although in Europe they represent only 15 % of cork usage by volume. The cork industry represents about 100 000 people.

Information derived from Pira illustrates the distribution of cork sales across the key EU countries for which data were available (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Approximate distribution of sales for cork across EU MSs for which data were available

Figure 1: Approximate distribution of sales for cork across EU MSs for which data were available

Pira estimates total sales for cork FCMs at EUR 1.2 billion. It should be noted that Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom reported no sales of cork. Data were not available for other MSs. It illustrates again that Portugal is the major country concerned with cork (sales of EUR 689 million), followed by France (EUR 236 million), Spain (EUR 148 million) and Italy (EUR 142 million).

The distribution of the size of enterprises shows that small enterprises constitute over 50 % of sales, medium-sized enterprises 25 % and large enterprises making up the rest of the market. No further data was received from European professional organisations. Based on the annual turnover, the proportion of enterprises is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Approximate sales of producers of FCM cork. Total sales estimated at EUR 1 216 million (source: Pira, 2013)

Figure 2: Approximate sales of producers of FCM cork. Total sales estimated at EUR 1 216 million (source: Pira, 2013)

Food Contact Materials for Wood

Wood as an FCM can be in the form of raw timber or reconstituted wood and be varnished, lacquered or painted. The main examples of primary packaging that may be in direct contact with food are crates, boxes and baskets that are designed to hold or transport such foods as fruit and vegetables, seafood, dairy products, cakes and patisseries, along with some types of confectionery. Wood is also used to manufacture certain tableware and kitchenware, such as cooking utensils, serving bowls or chopping boards. Wooden crates and pallets are also used to transport and store food that has already been packaged and is therefore not in direct contact with the food.

The European Confederation of Woodworking Industries CEI-Bois represents 25 European and national federations from 16 countries and is the organisation backing the interests of the whole European industrial wood sector. CEI-Bois represents an industry with more than 184 000 companies generating an annual turnover of EUR 130 billion and employing 1.1 million workers in the EU. Another European organisation, the European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers Fefpeb represents national associations in the field of timber packaging (pallets, lightweight packaging and industrial packaging). No trade data were received.

According to Eurostat, among the EU MSs Sweden produced the most round-wood in 2014, followed by Finland, Germany and France. However, it should be kept in mind that the EU’s wood-based industries cover a range of downstream activities, including paper and board packaging materials. Within the EU’s wood-based industries in 2012, the highest share was recorded for pulp, paper and paper products manufacturing (around one third or EUR 42 billion).

According to data from Pira, the total value of wood packaging in the EU in 2013 was approximately EUR 713 million, mostly relating to food contact packaging, a large majority of which was accounted for by France (80 %). The estimated distribution of small enterprises constitute over 50 % of sales, medium-sized 30 % and large making up the rest of the market (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Estimated sales of enterprises supplying FCM wood. Total c.EUR 712 million (source: Pira, 2013)

Figure 3: Estimated sales of enterprises supplying FCM wood. Total c.EUR 712 million (source: Pira, 2013)

This is based on sales of casks, barrels, vats, tubs and coopers’ products and parts thereof of wood. Although this is a very small proportion of the total value of the European wood industry, it does not account for downstream use of wood in FCMs and is unlikely to include all uses of wood in FCMs. For example, information is available from Trademap and Prodcom via the market intelligence report on wooden tableware and kitchenware (salad sets) of the Centre for Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI), which indicates that European imports of wooden tableware and kitchenware in 2014 were estimated at around EUR 342 million, with China being the leading supplier. European production was estimated at around EUR 154 million in 2013, with consumption at around EUR 281 million.

Data are also available from European from 2011 on volumes of wood packaging placed on the EU market but are not comparable to the values reported by Pira in 2013. 12 381 000 tonnes of wood packaging was placed on the EU market in 2011, with Germany, France, Italy, Poland and United Kingdom being the main contributors, as illustrated in Figure 4 below, although the volumes and sales do not always tally, likely owing to the fact that European data include all wood rather than wood for FCMs alone.

Figure 4: Approximate annual volumes and sales of FCM wood by EU Member State

Figure 4: Approximate annual volumes and sales of FCM wood by EU Member State

No further information was found on the proportion of wood used as FCMs or the different proportions of enterprises.

Food Contact Materials for Plastics

Plastic is the general term for a synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers. The two main types of plastics are thermosets, which do not soften once they have been moulded, and thermoplastics, which soften upon heating. Examples of thermoplastics include polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polystyrene (PS) those are one of the most elements for producing filler masterbatch. Plastic is used extensively for FCMs at most if not all stages of the food supply chain: in the industrial and processing environment, in storage and transport, in the domestic environment as kitchenware and tableware and for plastic packaging, which represents almost 39 % of the European plastics market.

The plastics industry value chain can be divided into broad segments, including plastic producers, plastic converters and plastic product distributors and users. PlasticsEurope is a pan-European trade association representing European plastics manufacturers. PlasticsEurope has 53 member companies, all of whom are large enterprises. The members of PlasticsEurope that supply food contact (plastics) resins represent manufacturers of plastic intermediate materials. PlasticsEurope members supply food contact (plastics) resins to plastics converters, which represent the manufacturers of final plastic FCM or articles. In some cases, the members can also supply food contact (plastics) resins to manufacturers of plastic intermediate materials.

European Plastics Converters EuPC represents the plastic converters who form the plastic resins and compounds into finished products. EuPC represents about 51 European plastics-converting national and European industry associations.

Flexible Packaging Europe FPE represents the flexible packaging industry at European and international levels. It has 70 members, with a number of companies operating multiple sites in more than one country. In addition, five national associations (France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom) are associate members, representing a further 120 companies. FPE members use raw materials as in Table 1.

Type Subtype
Webs (on the reel) Aluminium foil, Paper and board, Regenerated cellulose film (RCF) Plastic films and sheet, including metallised products
Granules/other solids  Plastic resins, waxes, masterbatches, filler masterbatch
‘Wets’ Solvents, printing inks, adhesives and primers Coatings (lacquers, varnishes, sealants)

Table 1: Overview of supply chain for FPE members

With the possible exception of solvents, the great majority of these materials are bought directly from the manufacturer. In addition, 20 % of FPE members’ flexible products are multimaterials (e.g. combining plastic with aluminium or plastic with paper). Less than 10 % of their production is 100 % plastic, over 60 % contains inks and over 25 % contains an adhesive. A diagram from the FPE guide is reproduced in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Supply chain for flexible plastics sector as represented by FPE in its guidance

Figure 5: Supply chain for flexible plastics sector as represented by FPE in its guidance

The great majority of production is supplied in reels to the food packer, yet a significant minority find another route to market (e.g. printing by a third party, made into pouches or bags, die cuts (made into lids or sheeted), made into laminate tubes, used as a liner for composite cans, used as a peelable membrane for metal cans or used to make lined cartons). A small proportion is sold to distributors. They can supply food packers, usually in a smaller ‘artisanal’ category, the catering industry and the consumer.

PETcore Europe is the trade association representing the whole PET value chain in Europe, from PET manufacture to conversion into packaging and recycling, and associated equipment. The membership of the association is made up of four leading industry sector European associations, i.e. the PET resin producers represented by the Committee of PET Manufacturers in Europe CPME EuPC including Forum PET Europe and EuPET (the converters), the recyclers represented by Plastics Recyclers Europe EuPR along with several individual companies involved in the value chain. Petcore Europe also works together with other downstream users such as packers, fillers and retailers.

Additional specific European professional organisations exist, such as the European Federation of Bottled Waters EFBW representing bottled water producers, bottlers and companies at European and international levels; the European Polyvinyl Film Manufactures Association EPFMA representing the major PVC cling film producers in Europe; the Packaging Recovery Organisation Europe PRO Europe which is the umbrella organisation for European packaging and packaging waste recovery and recycling schemes — this includes 31 member organisations active in 31 countries, with 28 packaging recovery organisations in 28 countries.

According to 2011 Europen data, 14 495 000 tonnes of plastic packaging was placed on the market, a value that has remained relatively stable since 2005, with most of the contribution coming from the MSs of the EU prior to 2004. Euromonitor data also confirms the relative contributions from different MSs. Data from Pira indicates that, in total, sales of plastic FCM packaging for the EU per year are around EUR 30 billion. This is divided further into rigid plastic packaging (around EUR 19 billion) and flexible plastic packaging (around EUR 11 billion). The volumes (Euromonitor data) are illustrated in Figure 6, where Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Spain have the greatest share. Values (Pira data) also show a similar trend.

Figure 6: Approximate annual volumes and sales of FCM plastic packaging by EU Member State

Figure 6: Approximate annual volumes and sales of FCM plastic packaging by EU Member State

No data was received from plastic Europe. EUPC quoted the production of 45 million tonnes of plastic products each year, mainly from small and medium-sized companies in the converting sector, to create a turnover in excess of EUR 280 billion per year. Conversely, FPE members have an estimated annual turnover of about EUR 12 billion, which is about 75 % of the market. 53 % of the members are large companies and 47 % are medium-sized enterprises. FPE estimates the European market for ‘added value’ flexible packaging to be around EUR 12.5 billion. The ‘added value’ part of the definition excludes items such as stretch and shrink wrap, carrier bags, lightweight grocery bags used in store for fruit, vegetables and meat, and heavy duty sacks and liners for industrial containers. Around 75 % of the value is for food contact.

Concerning the distribution of the size of different enterprises, data from Pira for 2013 suggest that the share of EU manufacturer sales for plastic FCM packaging is relatively evenly distributed between small (26 %), medium-sized (41 %) and large enterprises (33 %), which is illustrated in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Approximate manufacturer sales of enterprises supplying plastic FCM packaging. Total sales estimated at EUR 30.3 billion (source: Pira, 2013)

Figure 7: Approximate manufacturer sales of enterprises supplying plastic FCM packaging. Total sales estimated at EUR 30.3 billion (source: Pira, 2013)

Given the emphasis on packaging from the Pira data, it is again possible that the volumes and values discussed above may underestimate somewhat the overall size of the plastics market for all FCMs.




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