France is the third largest European market for packaged consumer goods behind the U.K. and Germany. Like the rest of Europe, it has experienced strong volume growth over recent years thanks to
the dynamism in packaged food, soft drinks and cosmetics and toiletries markets.
In fact, according to Euromonitor, all consumer markets in France, apart from alcoholic drinks, experience increased volume sales in 2003.
However, not all the news in this market is good. The French market, like all others in Western Europe, is suffering at the hands of the fast consolidating retailing sector, which is at the
heart of the pricing pressures that all packaging sectors are feeling.
The consumer packaging market was estimated to stand at 92.5 billion units in 2002, with Euromonitor forecasting that this will rise by 8 percent to reach 100 billion units in 2007.
The challenges posed by consumer trends towards convenience and the higher number of single households, as well as increased consolidation among brand owners and the demands of retailers has
led directly to a corresponding rise in acquisitions and mergers within the packaging sector. These influences are as applicable to the paper and board market as they are to any other sector.