The results of the first UAE packaging survey were announced today during a special seminar held at the Gulf Pack trade fair in Dubai. Covering consumer packaging categories, trends and opportunities, the research was conducted by IMES Consulting, a leading firm of international consultants, made possible through the support of the event organisers, Fairs & Exhibitions Ltd, and iMPZ, part of Tecom.
The survey, the first of its kind for the packaging industry in the UAE, underlined the fact that many businesses within the UAE’s packaging industry are flourishing as a result of export opportunities.
One example is with glass container production where six times as much volume is exported than consumed locally. Apparently two local factories supply 35,000 tons to local customers compared to total exports of 184,000 tons.
It also reveals how marketing has a major effect on packaging choices by manufacturers and consumers. One example given was that whilst most fizzy drinks are now packed in cans, Coca Cola’s classic contour shape glass bottle stimulated a resurgence in the glass category.
Cans however remain the most popular device for packing drinks. Crown Emirates were cited as the leading manufacturer in a domestic market with a volume of 420 million, 2 piece format units. The survey reveals that sector has grown by at least 50% in less than five years.
Can and bottle manufacturers are also well placed to reap the dividends from developing new production technology that will allow non-alcoholic beer (NAB) to be produced in the region. Apparently the process is being led by international breweries like Carlsberg, for their brand Moussy, as well as Heineken and Saudi based Aujan. The latter bought the Barbican brand from UK Bass two years ago and now has the product packed under contract in Europe. According to Thorsten Hartmann of IMES, new technology eliminates fermentation that has to date prohibited local production.
The local dairy industry was revealed as one of the largest users of packaging materials in a variety of formats. From aseptic cartons, mainly coming from Tetra Pak’s Saudi based factories, with a market volume of 285m units, through to the use of new materials such as PET, that has a total volume of exceeding 1 billion units.
Suppliers of flexible packaging materials can also take heart. The market volume is estimated at 10,000 tons with substantial growth stimulated in a number of categories such as biscuit and snack producers.