The use of PET bottles in the drinks industry looks set to continue expanding despite price increases for the packaging method.

According to beverage research agency Canadean, PET use in the soft drinks and beer sectors has jumped from 29% of all bottles produced in 1998 to more than 40% in 2006 on a litreage basis, as the soft drinks category alone used 57%.

Canadean said yesterday (8 November) that industry feedback indicated further share gains for PET are expected for next year, particularly in Europe where more PET machines in the juice, nectar and still drink's categories, which are traditional carton strongholds, are being installed.

The expansion is despite a significant increase in the price of resin of as much as 40% in 2006, the research group said.

While in 1998 glass accounted for one in every five litres of soft drinks sold, this figure has now halved and glass has been increasingly marginalised to the premium end of the market and to pubs, bars and restaurants, Canadean said.

However, in the beer sector, where PET accounts for just 5% of the 149bn litres tracked globally by Canadean, PET is associated with the lower end of the market with widespread use mostly restricted to Eastern Europe and Russia.

Canadean added that the green issue could have considerable implications for stakeholders in the PET industry, but noted the recent arrival of the first biodegradable bottles that break down in six to eight months, but which are constrained to still products at the moment.