According to information from the German Aluminum Association, Aluminium Deutschland, despite the challenging economic situation in Germany, the supply of aluminum tubes and aluminum aerosol cans in the first half of 2023 showed positive developments.
Regarding aluminum tubes, sustained high demand from the pharmaceutical sector and stable growth in the cosmetics and food industries led to a year-on-year increase of 4.4%. Approximately 424 million aluminum tubes were supplied to the German market in total. Aluminum aerosol cans are oriented towards two major market segments – deodorants and hair care products, where significant growth was recorded compared to the same period last year. As a result, deliveries of aluminum aerosol cans increased by 9.5%, totaling 309 million units. Raw material and energy prices remain high, and the shortage of qualified labor is becoming even more acute.
According to the statement by Aluminium Deutschland, the industry welcomes the positive development in prices for both raw materials and energy observed in 2023 and still hopes for further improvement. Prices remain significantly higher than before the pandemic and the armed conflict in Ukraine, which places a burden on the German industry for the production of tubes and aerosol cans.
Furthermore, the shortage of qualified labor remains one of the industry’s biggest challenges, with no improvements expected in the near future. Clemens Behrenbruch, Chairman of the association, explains, “Replacing retiring employees is becoming increasingly difficult. Continuing this trend could have long-term consequences for the German economy and threaten Germany’s position as a leading industrial country.”
The planned ban by the European Commission on the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in materials in contact with food products seems inevitable. According to Aluminium Deutschland, despite significant efforts by the industry to replace BPA coatings, it will be very challenging in the medium term to transition to alternative systems for both internal and external coatings. Clemens Behrenbruch asserts, “BPA is found almost everywhere in production processes: in tanks, production lines, and even in water. It is crucial that legislators distinguish between intentional and unintentional use of BPA to ensure compliance with the law.”
Additionally, the European Commission is currently considering a proposal to ban the use of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). A ban on the use of the entire group of PFAS substances, consisting of approximately 10,000 different chemical compounds, would likely be the most comprehensive regulatory intervention in history. It is expected that the ban will have a significant impact on many industrial sectors.
Despite the growth in the market recorded in the first half of the year, a noticeable slowdown in demand has been observed since the end of the second quarter. Furthermore, the situation is clouded by persistently high inflation rates and the IMF’s forecast that Germany will have the lowest growth rate in Europe in 2023.
However, manufacturers of aluminum tubes and aerosol cans maintain cautious optimism in the medium term, as the primary markets for these aluminum-based packaging solutions have always remained stable even during times of crisis.