About the beverages and liquids sector

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Key figures

European beverages and liquids sector (Sources: Eurostats/FoodDrinksEurope)

  • 2013 Turnover: €174 billion (15% of food products)
  • 378,000 employees (15% in food processing, 4th food branch)
  • Export: €25.882 billion

French beverages and liquids sector (Source: INSSE-ESANE)

  • 2014 Turnover: €28.2 billion (20% of food products)
  • 3,125 companies
  • around 70,000 employees
  • Leader in global exports: €13.465 billion


The global beverages market, estimated at USD1,774 billion in 2014 by MarketLine, grew 3.3% per year on average between 2010 and 2014. Consumption in volume terms reached 818.9 billion litres, with average annual growth of 3.4% over the period. 

The global market of alcoholic beverages was valued in 2015 at USD1,237 billion by Transparency Market Research and could reach USD1,547 billion in 2022 with AAGR of 3.2%. This growth responds to demand from developing countries, but Europe remains the biggest consumption area. The leading category is beer, followed by spirits and wine. Thus, global production of wine was estimated by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) at 278.8 million hectolitres in 2014, of which 60% from the EU.

In Europe, the beverages market was valued at USD684 billion in 2014 according to Market Research, representing an average yearly growth of 1.6% between 2010 and 2014, and over 222 billion litres with AAGR of 1.3% during the period. The beer segment accounts for 36.4% in value terms. 

In France, turnover of the beverages industry, valued at €28.2 billion, grew 2.9% in 2014 according to Agro Media (compared to 0.9% for the entire food processing industry), due to an increase in prices (3.2%) and to an increase in volume production, excluding wine, of 3.7%.

This increase is explained by the growth in soft drinks (8%), the reduction in consumption of alcoholic beverages, the particularly high number of new products, prices on volume sales – compared to 2012/2013, which were the years most affected by the «soda tax» – and by abnormally high temperatures. Exports amounted to €13.465 billion, with a trade balance surplus of €10.5 billion. According to ANIA (ANIA: National association of food industries), production in volume of beverages grew again by 6.6% from September 2014 to September 2015, while food production declined by 0.8%.

Each year, 6.5 billion litres of mineral water are produced in France representing turnover of €3.5 billion, putting France third among European producers, behind Italy and Germany, but first among global exporters with 40% of market share and turnover of above €600 million.

Volumes of alcoholic beverages grew 1% in 2014 after a gloomy 2013. Beer, riding the wave of the Football World Cup, recorded a 3% growth in value and 16% growth involume in 2014, after losing 7% the previous year due to the increase in excise duties. In 2015, turnover of the 125 producers of Brasseurs de France (Source: Brasseurs de France) amounted to €2.2 billion for 85% of French beer production made by a total of 700 breweries.

Sales of alcohol and spirits amounted to €4.46 billion in 2014 (Source: Fédération Française des Spiritueux), i.e. a 1% growth in value but a 0.6% reduction in volume. Exports represent 419.6 million litres (down 1.6%) and €3.3 billion (down 5.3%), of which 66% for Cognac.

Wine production in 2014, assessed at €46.5 million hectolitres (Source: Agreste), i.e. up 10% compared to the low harvest of 2013, allowed France to regain its title as leading global wine producer. This leadership position was short-lived, however, with, French production in 2015 estimated at 47.3 million hectolitres, behind Italy at 48.8 million hectolitres. The trade balance of wines remains in surplus, at €7.1 billion in 2014, with Champagne exports representing 7% in volume and 31% in value.


  • In Europe, the beverages sector is the most innovative in the food industry with 7.2% of innovations in 2014 (Source: Data and trends: European food and drink industry 2014-2015, Food Drink Europe), and 2015 was especially fertile. In addition to original and sophisticated flavours, manufacturers have developed practical packaging in terms of handling and dosage, such as caps containing concentrated squash, squeezy bottles, packaging for on-the-go consumption, such as re-sealable drink cartons, cartons for fruit juices, minibottles for children, and even a 20cl PET bottle for Evian.
  • Neurobranding is founded on the clinical knowledge of emotions felt by consumers and evidenced by MRI. Brands intend to use it to develop attributes which have maximum emotional impact by playing with different aspects, including packaging. Its main application is multi-sensory optimisation in space and time: iconography and other senses such as olfactory pleasure, the feel of materials and their packaging. Or, in other words, how to choose the colour of packaging depending on the MRI analysis of the emotions aroused by the smell of a drink!
  • The Champagne branch has assessed the carbon footprint of its activities and has committed to reduce 75% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The weight of bottleshas thus been accordingly reduced. Today, the bottle weighs just 835 grams and continues to resist internal pressure of 6 bars.
  • The alcohol-free soft drink and water branch massively uses recycled PET approved for contact with food. It also uses biopolymers or renewable natural materials, such as in the famous plant bottle, made with 100% of MEG (monoethylene glycol) made from sugar cane. In the future, bottles will be made of polyethylene furanoate (PEF), a bio-based plastic consisting of starch and sugar beet, transformed by injection and with characteristics equal to or better than PET. A competitive FDME (furan dicarboxylic methyl ester) production process using fructose is also being developed.
  • Limited editions and premiumisation of packaging for alcoholic drinks are increasing trends. To encourage customer loyalty, packaging is being adapted to the place, circumstances and form of consumption, with 50 cl cans, bags-in-boxes, magnums of rosé wine or mini vials of wine for consumption by the glass and, above all, glitter and light for night owls!
  • These developments go hand-in-hand with technological innovations to guarantee product traceability, fight against counterfeits and parallel markets, and to create a link with the consumer. QR codes, NFC (Near Field Communication) and RFID chips are playing a role as the branch becomes digitised.
  • And beverages, too, are experiencing the organic trend! Organic fruit juices represented €116.2 million in 2013 (Source: Natexpo) and show off exotic flavours: coconut palm flower cordial, baobab fruit juice, etc. Specialist shops advocate sales with a system of returnable packaging and ultra-short supplies, such as for beer, and even Do It Yourself (DIY) or Produce it Yourself (PIY) kits!


AFINOMAQ / AmbaFlex Spiral Conveyor Solutions / AVE TECHNOLOGIES / COMEP / E2M - ESTUDIS ELECTRO-MECANICS SL / EUROPOOL S.R.L. / EZS EASY SOLUTIONS / Gebo Packaging Solutions France SAS / GERNEP GmbH Etikettiertechnik / HTG INDUSTRY FRANCE / KHS GmbH / Krones / METTLER TOLEDO / NORTAN S.R.L. / OMME FRANCE SARL / PACK' CO / PACKSYSTEM DEVELOPPEMENT / POSIMAT / Serac  / SMI / SNEYDERS / T.E.P. (Techniques Embouteillage Packaging). 

Source: Annette Freidinger-Legay, international packaging expert and consultant for the ALL4PACK Paris trade show.