Exhibitors and speakers hailed Packaging Innovations, Luxury Packaging and ADF London’s return to London Olympia this September a huge success, as it celebrated its biggest and busiest edition to date.
Sustainability was top of the agenda, with leading figures from Coca-Cola, Sainsburys, The Packaging Federation and WRAP all taking to the stage for the launch of the Big Plastics Debate 2.0. This interactive discussion, run in association with The Foodservice Packaging Association and OPRL, brought together the brightest minds in the packaging supply chain to tackle the issue of plastic waste in packaging.
The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben MP, Chairman of the UK’s Independent Committee on Climate Change, was the Big Plastic Debate’s Keynote speaker. He discussed ‘Working with Government – How Business Can Drive the Solution to the Plastic Packaging Problem’. During his talk, Lord Deben stated: “Both packaging and plastic are fundamental parts of our every day lives. People often talk about them not being necessary, and this is simply not true. I think consumers forget that they help keep our products fresher for longer, allow us to put food in the freezer safely and much more. We need to remember that packaging matters, but that we also need to make it work for us, and ensure that it does not destroy the environment. By helping the Government make things simpler we can take a step in the right direction.”
Continuing the sustainability theme was Simon Boas-Hoffmeyer, Group Sustainability Director at Carlsberg, who spoke about the company’s ‘Snap Pack’ packaging, which has been designed to remove the need for plastic rings or shrink-wrap on its six packs. By simply gluing the cans together, Carlsberg will reduce its plastic usage by up to 76 percent. When fully implemented, this could reduce plastic waste by more than 1,200 tons globally, which is equivalent to eliminating 60 million plastic bags each year.
New for 2018 and with sustainability still in mind, the show hosted the UK’s first ever Plastic-Free Aisle. This was developed in partnership with A Plastic Planet, which also helped Dutch supermarket Ekoplaza deliver the same concept in Amsterdam earlier this year. Commenting on the success of the new concept, Frankie Gillard, Changemaker at A Plastic Planet said: “The Plastic-Free Aisle has been phenomenal, with the display attracting over 500 visitors in the first day alone. The cellulose coffee bags and crisp packets have proved particularly popular with hundreds of people enquiring about the technology. Our ‘plastic-free mark’, designed to help consumers identify whether a product’s packaging is 100% plastic-free, has also received an amazing reception from visitors.”
Visitor, Steve Jackson from Addo Food Group commented on this new feature: “The Plastic-Free Aisle has been really interesting and a great addition to this year’s show. It’s been fantastic to discover what alternatives to plastic are available and to see what is possible in this market.”
Talking more widely about the show’s environmental offering, Craig Pope, European Commercial Director at Petainer, said: “I have been really impressed with the sustainability focus at the show this year. Packaging Innovations London is a great way to discover the latest trends in the market and it’s fascinating to hear about the latest developments and innovations in packaging. The show also provides a great opportunity to network and put faces to names. I will definitely be returning next year.”
In another first, Packaging Innovations London 2018 introduced a new partnership with Aerosol Dispensing Forum (ADF), the world’s premier event for the aerosol and dispensing community. This saw the introduction of a dedicated ADF Zone on the show floor, featuring leading suppliers from within the industry. Further developing the show’s offering for the cosmetic industry, ADF also curated a series of seminars, which proved a hugely popular.
Another hot topic emerging from this year’s show was the role that social media has to play in the design of packaging. Steve Honour, Design Leader at Diageo, argued that the impact packaging will have on social media is vital and must be considered during the design process. “The design of packaging is more relevant now that it ever has been before. If someone told you ten years ago that you would see photos of packaging on social media you wouldn’t have believed them, but we now live in a world where people get just as excited about packaging as they do about the product inside. It is important to understand this and be conscious that we are now designing for the consumer. Social media gives people more access to share their opinions, both good and bad, so it is vital that we get it right and design packaging that is truly impactful for these platforms.”
Paris Camara, former MD of Glossybox, agreed, illustrating in his talk how important packaging is to beauty brand fans and what that means for a company’s digital strategy: “Looking at the top four fragrance brands and their 2017 activity on Instagram, 32 percent of their posts related to packaging. That’s significant, but what’s more important is the interaction – the likes, shares – the things that get a brand in front of a bigger audience. Packaging was the single biggest driver of interaction. At least 50 percent of the engagement with the fragrance brands on Instagram centred around their packaging! That’s why packaging should play a really big part of a company’s digital plans.”
As always, innovation was at the heart of the show, with a host of interactive features available for visitors to get involved with. The Innovation Showcase returned by popular demand, offering packaging professionals an insight into the latest trends and most cutting-edge technologies. The highly anticipated Pentawards Winners’ Exhibit was also hailed as a highlight by visitors, providing the first opportunity in the world to get hands-on with the winning designs from the 2018 Awards, after the conclusion of the Gala ceremony in New York the previous week.
In addition to the interactive content, there was plenty of innovation to be seen, with over half of the exhibiting suppliers launching new products at the show. Highlights included: Aegg Creative Packaging introducing its brand-new range of fully recyclable glassware food pots; Seufert Gesellschaft launching environmentally-friendly alternative to adhesives; Alexir Partnership showcasing new film alternatives to plastic; Keskeny & Co introducing its latest surface treatment technologies; and Inospray presenting Dityspray, a new economical dispensing system for liquid.
Following the successful show, many exhibitors were quick to rebook stands for next year, with 78 percent already confirming their return for 2019. Samet Olcay, Founder at Olcay Etiket, is one of these: “This is our first time at Packaging Innovations London and we’ve so been impressed with the number of leads we have received. We would usually expect to receive around five quality leads at a show like this, but we had received over 30 by the morning of day two. We will definitely be returning for 2019.”
Another exhibitor who enjoyed a successful show was Bonnie Howard, Manager at Aceville, who said: “Our stand has been extremely busy, and we have had some great leads. We have been to the show previously, but it just gets better every year!”
James Drake-Brockman, Divisional Director of Easyfairs’ Packaging Portfolio, concluded: “It’s been an incredible year. What a fantastic achievement for the whole team! At a time when the industry is under more scrutiny than ever before, it has been great to see everyone pull together to see how and where our sector can improve. We have never seen so much innovation, forward-thinking and inspiring content on show. We are already excited to continue this good work at the NEC show in February.”
The next Easyfairs packaging event will be Packaging Innovations, Label&Print and Empack 2019, which takes place at Birmingham NEC on 27 & 28 February 2019. For anyone interested in exhibiting, more information can be found here or via the show team on +44 (0)20 3196 4429 or PackagingUK@easyfairs.com.