Overview of the Greek packaging market

In the last five years the Greek packaging industry had an average growth of 4%, much above the European Union average. Food and beverage is the major customer sector covering more than 55% of packaging consumption. The expected growth figure for 2009 is 1-1.5%.

The Greek packaging manufacturers are being affected by competition from (often subsidised) packaging producers in low-cost manufacturing locations, as well as the growing trend of multinational consumer goods producers to import goods from central manufacturing facilities outside of the country. In addition, multinational producers are also said to be exerting significant downward pressure on packaging prices. The trend towards e-auctions has been noted in the country, with packaging companies forced to participate if they wish to remain on lists approved suppliers.

On the other hand, Greek packaging materials are exported to the Balkan countries, the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, several Greek companies have established manufacturing facilities in the Balkans which is a fast expanding market area.

Greek packaging industry has realized that innovation and good manufacturing practices are the strong weapons to overcome the competition from the low cost labour manufacturing countries. For that purpose, the Association of the Greek Manufacturers of Packaging and Materials (AGMPM) is strongly promoting activities related to innovation.

Following the 2008 activities reported, AGMPM has co-organized in the first months of 2009,

  • The workshop on printing technology for RFID labeling.
  • Seminar on efficient packaging waste management.
  • Seminar on Sustainable packaging innovation.

The major 2009 packaging events in Greece are the two Exhibitions: Expo Pack 2009 and Graphica Expo 2009 (info@graphicaexpo.gr  | www.graphicaexpo.gr  ) which take part co currently on 29/5-01/6 in the new Athens Metropolitan Expo Centre.

GREECE: 2008 Packaging events

1st National Conference on Food and Beverage Packaging

The major packaging event in Greece during 2008 was the 1st National Conference on Food and Beverage Packaging, organized by the Association of the Greek Manufacturers of Packaging and Materials (AGMPM). The Conference took place in the grounds of the 11th Biennial Packaging Exhibition (SYSKEYASIA) and was supported by the Exhibition organizing authority.

The 300 participants from industry and academia had the opportunity to attend the two plenary sessions and any of the four focused parallel sessions:

  • The role of packaging in the developing and production of the final product.
  • Packaging designing and the retail-chains requirements.
  • Novel packaging technologies.
  • Packaging materials and packaging operations.

More than 100 research papers were given as oral presentations or posters. The speakers in the plenary sessions were coming from the leading retail chains, food industry, ECR, and heads of food processing research groups. There were also two invited speakers from WPO members: Lemia Thabet and Dogan Erberk.

The following round table discussions created interesting and hot debates:

  • Conception and designing of a product: (a) what is coming first? The aesthetic or the functional designing? And (b) the environmental parameter starts from the product designing and not from its waste management stage.
  • Developments in the retail packaging: (a) Packaging and demographic trends. And (2) Packaging, the retail store, and the consumer.

Support to students doing research on food packaging

The AGMPM has set up prizes to be given each year to the graduate students who have presented the best research papers in scientific conferences. In 2008 were given three €1000 prizes to the following Ph.D. students:

  • Th. Tsironi, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) , "Development of mathematical models for selecting the optimum modified atmosphere for packaging of fish filets"
  • A. Karagiannaki, Athens University of Economics and Business, "RFID on various steps of packaging. Effects and interactions"
  • E. Chouliara, University of Ioannina, Combined effect of irradiation and modified atmospheres for the extension of shelf life of fresh poultry"

Discussion fora on waste management

AGMPM organized in May a discussion forum entitled "Biodegradable and OXO- biodegradable plastics. Their effect in municipal waste management". Major issue was the adoption by major retail chains of OXO-biodegradable shopping bags.
Another discussion forum is planned for the 3rd of December. Its subject being: "Municipal solid waste management and packaging waste. Exploring more effective and more efficient ways".

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