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Industry

Walstead UK reflects on paper industry

Walstead UK has reflected on the current status of the paper industry in a new report which looks at its relationship with the print industry.

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Walstead is the largest magazine and commercial web-offset printing business in the UK

The company is the largest magazine and commercial web-offset printing business in the UK, and is a subsidiary of Walstead Group.

According to Walstead, demand for graphic paper has fallen steadily since 2015 with the company saying the substrate has needed to “adapt to stay relevant in an increasingly digital world”. This comes as UK print industry revenues continue to grow despite a decline in printed news and magazines.

Despite the decline, Walstead reveals that during the pandemic, consumers turned to printed alternatives for entertainment such as magazines and books as lockdown saw our use of screens rise.

Sustainability is a prominent topic in the business sphere with companies seeking to adapt and update their processes to be more environmentally friendly. Walstead says this is contributing to a drop in the consumption of printing grades.

UPM produces some of Walstead’s paper grades at its Caledonian mill in Scotland which runs on 50% renewable energy.

Major paper industry players have narrowed their focus on higher-growth segments, converting or closing various mills and tailoring their output towards demand

Reflecting on this area, Walstead says: “This is likely a result of the move towards eco-friendly, biodegradable options. Sustainability is at the forefront of consumers’ minds and so recycled options are increasingly attractive.

“Major paper industry players have narrowed their focus on higher-growth segments, converting or closing various mills and tailoring their output towards demand. In order to remain competitive, printers and paper manufacturers alike have had to show innovation and adaptability.”

Walstead spoke to Julian Townsend of Denmaur, a key paper supplier to the company, who highlighted some current trends in the paper industry.

According to Townsend, there are fewer manufacturers in the market, paper mills are becoming more flexible, and there is a strong focus on growing markets.

Reflecting on the impact Brexit has had on lead times from suppliers operating out of the UK, Townsend also predicts a shift to shorter lead times from UK mills such as UPM’s Caledonian site.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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