I got to know Alex Fordham, owner of The Metal Packager publication, as many of us do these days… on-line. I follow him on LinkedIn, read his publication, had Zoom meetings with he and his team, and exchanged emails. I was pleased to learn that he would be 1.5 hours from my hometown of Indianapolis, IN in January, so I headed to Dayton, OH to meet him for lunch.
I’ve long considered Alex to have his finger on the pulse of the metal packaging industry and enjoyed our conversation and his insights. I asked if he might consider writing down some of those insights in the form of an “outlook” of the industry in the coming months and years. This article is his response to that request. Enjoy the article, follow him on LinkedIn, and you’re sure to gain valuable insights along the way.
– Dwayne Butcher, Director of Marketing, Acumence & Flexware Innovation (LinkedIn)
2023 Industry Outlook by Metal Packaging Expert Alex Fordham
The last few years has seen unprecedented growth within the canmaking industry, particularly in the beverage can sector. A perfect storm of Covid-19, sustainability agendas globally and increased at-home consumption, has seen a once-in-a-generation boom in metal packaging.
Growth is expected to slow
In a recent industry presentation, Stolle CEO Gus Reall outlined the company’s predictions, with 95 new can lines expected in the next five years, boosting can capacity by 676 billion globally. Despite this, in recent discussions with The Metal Packager key industry figures said that growth is expected to slow towards the end of 2023 and into 2024.
With global inflationary pressures and the cost of living bite for many, consumer spending will continue to weaken and certainly impact the industry’s bottom line. With the current supply chain issues, the ongoing challenges of the war in Ukraine, and issues such as Brexit and simmering tensions between China and the West, brand owners are seeing this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to increase prices exponentially and ‘cash in’ on a helpless consumer hamstrung by inflation eating into diminishing incomes.
The metal packaging industry, however, is robust enough to deal with these challenges, and we can look forward to a period of consolidation after a frantic period. This is an opportunity for the industry to take stock. We’ll see themes such as tackling carbon footprint, the rise of digital printing, light weighting, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and the continued rise of data, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) as themes that will help drive the canmaking industry forward.