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PET is unlikely to replace glass as the material of choice for French wine producers but at Emballage in Paris this week plastic packaging firms said demand from the wine sector is increasing fast, according to FoodProductionDaily.com.

APPE (previously Artenius PET Packaging Europe), the biggest producer of PET bottles in Europe, has already increased its production of PET wine bottles 45% so far this year compared to 2009.

However this growth does not mean that PET will replace glass in the wine market but supplement it and open up new markets, according to Sylvain Houard, business development manager France.

As PET is unbreakable and easily opened and closed, Houard said the material is particularly suited to the travel and ‘ready to drink’ markets. APPE has already signed deals with air and train companies including Air France and Eurostar to distribute its PET wine bottles.

Although the travel market offers some opportunities in the domestic French market, the bulk of demand is coming from export markets.

APPE said the UK is the ‘motor’ for growth in Europe while the biggest international buyer is Japan. The company, which is a part of La Seda De Barcelona, has upped its PET production significantly for the Beaujolais nouveau this year to meet Japanese orders.

Despite the promise of PET, its use in the wine market remains controversial. The Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV) published a study earlier this year that claimed the character of white wine packed in PET changed noticeably after six months. This is however disputed by PET bottle makers. For more visit FoodProductionDaily.com

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