The market for printing inks is naturally dominated by various forms of publications, but packaging inks also make up a substantial part of the market. The European industry association CEPE estimates that packaging inks accounted for 26% of ink sales in Europe by volume in 2003 - a respectable 250 000 tonnes - but 33% by value, amounting to just over 1 BN Euro.
Research by major suppliers confirms the intuitively obvious - that many consumers do not decide exactly what they will buy until they see it on the supermarket shelf.
The packaging print market is particularly diverse, employing almost every known printing technology, and dealing with everything from exclusive and expensive packaging for cosmetics and perfume down to simply identifying the contents of large cardboard cartons.
While the development of every market is subject to change from legislation, technical innovation and customer demand, the packaging inks market is particularly interesting, because the types of packaging used are changing significantly - and an inks must change to match their substrates.