The top 5 growth areas for packaging in Europe

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The packaging industry in Europe is growing and offers corresponding opportunities. Important factors include changing consumer trends and developing market niches. In our article, we present the top 5 growth segments for packaging in Europe and show the countries with the strongest growth. We use the largest absolute volume growth and the strongest average annual growth (CAGR) for the period 2023 to 2028 as selection criteria. Join us in focussing on dynamic segments and markets that offer high growth opportunities in the short and long term.


The segments and markets we have identified based on data from Global Data reflect the diversity and potential of the packaging industry. The increasing demand for innovative and/or sustainable products and practical packaging options is driving growth.  Consumers are also looking for solutions that fit in with their often hectic lifestyles and at the same time fulfil their needs for health, convenience and taste.

The European countries play different roles in terms of the growth of these segments, with countries such as Romania, Poland and France showing particular dynamism.

It is crucial for the packaging industry to understand the needs of consumers in these segments and, based on this, to drive forward innovative packaging solutions that take sustainability aspects into account.


Flavoured alcoholic beverages in metal beverage cans – 5th place

The market for flavoured alcoholic beverages in metal beverage cans occupies fifth place.

  • The market includes low-alcohol spirit mixes that are often made with a vodka or rum base, but can also be made with other spirits or neutral alcohol. These are sometimes referred to as “alcopops” and fall into the “ready-to-drink” (RTD) category.
  • Consumers are looking for new flavours and the trend towards convenience is also driving the current growth of “alcopops”.
  • With a CAGR of +7.8% and absolute growth of 266 million packaging units from 2023 to 2028, this market is highly dynamic.
  • The leader in average annual demand growth 2023-2028 is France with +31%, followed by Hungary (+18%) and Romania, Belgium as well as Italy with +14% each. The UK recorded the highest growth in terms of volume. In general, demand for flavoured alcoholic beverages is growing much faster in Western Europe (+10%) than in Eastern Europe (+3%).


Dry soup mixes in aluminium/plastic pouches – 4th place

Fourth place belongs to the market for dry soup mixes in aluminium/plastic pouches.

  • The growing demand for practical and long-life soup mixes is driven by the desire for quick and easy meal solutions, especially for busy lifestyles.
  • Aluminium and plastic bags are lightweight packaging that provides an effective barrier against moisture and spoilage.
  • The European CAGR of +5.4% and the absolute growth of 278 million packaging units from 2023 to 2028 are primarily attributable to the sharp rise in demand for these products in Eastern Europe.
  • Poland is the clear frontrunner here with a forecast growth in demand of +11%, followed by Romania (+4.3%) and Russia (+3.8%).


Beverages based on rice, nuts and cereals in cartons – 3rd place

The market for beverages based on rice, nuts and cereals in beverage cartons (brick cartons) is a segment within the Dairy & Soy Food category.

  • A key driver is the steadily growing trend towards veganism. The popularity of plant-based products and the acceptance of meat and dairy substitutes will continue to drive this development. In addition, plant-based milk alternatives require less water than animal milk and produce less CO2 .
  • Cardboard packaging offers a sustainable and practical packaging solution for these products.
  • With a CAGR of +6.3% and absolute growth of 442 million packaging units from 2023 to 2028, this market is showing impressive development.
  • Germany in particular stands out from the rest of Europe with high growth rates, both in percentage terms (+8.2%) and in terms of volume (195 million pack units).


Vodka in glass bottles – 2nd place

Vodka in glass bottles is a segment within the spirits category.

  • Growth is being driven by the increasing popularity of premium and craft vodkas.
  • Glass bottles remain the preferred packaging option for high-quality spirits due to their aesthetic and flavour-neutral properties.
  • With a CAGR of +4.1% and absolute growth of 816 million packaging units from 2023 to 2028, this market shows solid growth.
  • The countries of Eastern Europe, particularly the Czech Republic (+8%) and Russia (+5.6%), are primarily responsible for this. In Western Europe, the Netherlands recorded the strongest growth in this segment with +3.9%.


Functional beverages in metal beverage cans – 1st place

Functional beverages in metal beverage cans are a segment within the overarching soft drinks category. The word “functional” indicates that these drinks are intended to support health and well-being by enriching them with additives.

  • Examples of functional drinks include energy drinks, sports drinks (e.g. isotonic drinks), wellness drinks (e.g. with added green tea, acerola, gingko and kombucha) and health drinks (e.g. with added vitamins, minerals and fibre).
  • Consumers prefer practical packaging options such as metal cans for consumption on the go.
  • With a CAGR of +4.6% and absolute growth of 2,968 million packaging units in the period from 2023 to 2028, this market is remarkably dynamic.
  • At European country level, the top 3 growth markets 2023-2028 for this segment are Romania (+11.2%), Greece (+9.0%) and Turkey (8.9%).

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