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"Packaging market is evolving in the direction set by the European Commission"

The European packaging market is being pushed in a direction to eliminate the practice of greenwashing, says Jakub Wojtczak, COO of Polish packaging manufacturer CDM Packaging: "The packaging market is evolving into the direction set by the European Commission in the draft of PPWR regulation from November 30th 2022 and the draft of EP directive from January 17th 2024, which aims to eliminate greenwashing. These legal acts accelerate technological and material changes towards the circular economy."

"Following this trend, we have developed, tested and validated a number of recyclable packaging mono-materials and some of them are already in our regular production. We use films and different laminate structures of mono PE or mono PP, as well as the heat-sealable and barrier papers," Wojtczak states. "The Natureef Association supports us in this process of change, brings together many producers and users of packaging and also guides companies like ours through the upcoming technological and legal changes."

As CDM Packaging focuses on the fresh food market mostly, they have to adhere by the toughest safety standards, as well as ensure that the fresh produce stays fresh as long as possible, Wojtczak explains: "The main segment of our target groups is the fresh market, horticulture and processed long term food products like snacks. Food producers require packaging that guarantees safety and durability of their products. To ensure this, we use materials approved for direct contact with food, we maintain the BRCGS/PM standard with the highest AA+ rating and conduct regular control tests in the company's own laboratory centre in the following areas: oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor permeability, VOC, NIAS, PAA, IR spectrum. Our customers observe changes in law and trends in the packaging market and already expect cooperation in the field of recyclable packaging solutions."

Over the past few years, input prices have been anything but stable according to Wojtczak, as they've increased due to various reasons. "In the years 2021-2023 we observed very high dynamics of price changes on the market of production materials. The beginning of 2021 had a sharp increase in prices caused by problems in the supply chain and logistics and concerns about the further development of the pandemic. Production costs increased by approximately 40 per cent, which made it challenging to maintain financial liquidity, especially for smaller companies. In 2022, material prices reached high levels as well as a shocking several hundred percentage increase in electricity and gas prices, caused by the war in Ukraine."

This meant the final product also became more expensive, Wojtczak states. However, the trend seems to be turning around as of 2023: "As a result, packaging prices were very high until the end of 2022. The beginning of 2023 brought a sudden change, when the process of deep deflation in material and energy prices begun. Prices dropped fast and last year was the first year in a long time in which there was a decline in production in the industry of packaging in Europe and in Poland by approximately 6%. Both CDM and most companies in the industry recorded a decline results in this crisis year, but without any threat to business continuity and further development."

Even though CDM was faced with all of these increased costs, the company still managed to invest in the future, Wojtczak says. "Despite the difficulties brought by recent years, all development projects planned for this period have been implemented. The CDM plant has been enlarged by a new printing hall, a new high-bay warehouse, the building of the company's innovation centre and a brand new laboratory. To meet market expectations we have launched our third new 8+2 flexographic printing line, equipped with additional downstream units, a line for production of conical bags made from film and barrier paper and another line for doypack and four-side seal pouches."

CDM Packaging exports a large chunk of its packaging to other countries. To increase its presence in the European market, the company also exhibits on multiple trade fairs, Wojtczak explains: "Our development strategy aims at strengthening our position on foreign markets. Currently over 70 per cent of our production is being exported, in countries such as the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Austria and others. We take part in the most important trade fairs such as Interpack, Fruit Logistica, Interzoo, Fachpack, Fruit Attraction and others."

With the upcoming regulation changes, CDM is ready to jump in and assists their clients in order to adhere to these new rules. "CDM and the rest of the packaging industry are waiting for the final version of the PPWR regulation from EU Commission. It is of key importance for packaging producers and users in Europe, because it eliminates packaging from the market that is unsuitable for recycling and requires the use of recyclates in the production of new packaging, also including food packaging. It's difficult to imagine the modern world without packaging, the safety and durability of food depends on it. At the same time, we need changes that will relieve the environment and make packaging a recycled resource. We are preparing for these changes by working with partners across the entire value chain," Wojtczak concludes.

For more information:
Jakub Wojtczak
CDM Packaging
Tel: +48 600 355 955