UK –  GlobalData forecasts the UK packaging market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.3% from 109.9 billion units in 2021 to 117.4 billion units in 2026.

 According to the leading data and analytics company, rigid plastics and rigid metal will be the winning packaging materials during the forecast period, with significant usage in the food industry.

Their user-friendly features (convenience) and attractive shapes and labels will appeal to both comfort-seeking and experimental consumers.

GlobalData’s latest report, reveals that rigid plastics were the most consumed packaging material in the UK, accounting for a share of 34.9% in 2021.

It was followed by flexible packaging and rigid metal, with shares of 32.3% and 16.4%, respectively.

While rigid plastics’ growth is due to their lightweight, low cost, and durability, rigid metals’ growth will be driven by consumers’ increasing awareness regarding plastic waste and its harmful effects on the environment.

Srimoyee Nath, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “A large section of Brits are concerned about the environmental hazards and landfills caused by packaging waste and are therefore looking for sustainable packaging solutions.

“Simultaneously, the packaging material is increasingly playing a crucial role in consumers’ purchasing decisions, as they are opting for innovative formats with bright and bold colors.”

According to the report, the UK’s food industry is the primary user of packaging materials, accounting for a 62.6% share in terms of size in 2021, followed by the non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages industries.

Within the food industry, flexible packaging was the most widely used pack material, followed by rigid plastics.

The demand for flexible packaging in food products is mostly attributed to its high consumption in bakery & cereals, confectionery, and savory snacks, wherein consumers tend to look for products that primarily offer convenience (zip locks, resealable closures, lightweight).

Nath adds: “Increasing on-the-go consumption post-COVID will push up the demand for smaller packs. Portion control will also play a key role in supporting small pack sizes.

“Concurrently, the need for environmental protection will continue to boost the adoption of sustainable features such as lightweight and recyclability. As a result, manufacturers need to continually modernize their product packages to stay relevant and attractive.”

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