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Record Numbers Flock to UK’s Biggest Packaging Show

Monday, March 02, 2015

Press release from the issuing company

The UK’s biggest packaging show just got bigger! Packaging Innovations (incorporating Contract Pack and Ecopack), Empack and Label&Print, closed its doors yesterday to record numbers. 6,585 visitors, 350 exhibitors, a mass of product launches, six new show features, and over 40 seminars all packed into the Birmingham’s NEC, bringing together the very best in packaging and print from right across the globe.

The show, which took place on 25 and 26 February 2015, witnessed a hugely increased footfall, boasting the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, Coca Cola, Britvic, Mars and PZ Cussons in attendance. Alison Church, Event Director for Easyfairs’ UK Packaging Events, comments:  

“The show has grown once again and the attendance figures are absolutely incredible. We couldn’t be happier with how this year’s show turned out and we want to thank all those who attended for making the show such a success. Having the very best and brightest of the packaging industry under one roof is always cause for celebration. Every area of the show was heaving throughout, and the feedback from visitors and exhibitors has been fantastic. It is great to be part of such a vibrant show celebrating its tenth anniversary. We are already deep in planning for the 2016 show, so make sure you stay tuned to see where we can go from here!”

Glenn Doherty, Owner of The Plastic Bottle Company, visiting the show, remarked: “This is the second time we’ve visited the show and since then it has doubled in size. There is plenty of opportunity here for SMEs and large businesses looking for the latest packaging innovations and ideas. Great show and we’ll certainly be back next year as it’s the best packaging show around!” 

The sell-out show featured a packed Learnshops programme, with speakers from Nestlé, Marks & Spencer, Mondel?z, GÜ Puds, Domino, Blippar, Hubbub, Recoup and many other leading brands.  

Among the speakers was Craig-Alexander Wilson, Head of Strategic Development, at Fake Bake Beauty at Home and Beauty Editor at The Sunday Mail who discussed creating a brand concept. Craig-Alexander remarked: “The skincare market is a place where consumers are particularly brand loyal to products. Products not only need to look luxurious but stand out and be able speak for themselves on shelf. Packaging plays a major role in this and having an editorial tone translates in advertising too. Shelf appeal is one thing, page appeal is another. It's all about ensuring you get plenty of marketing mileage from your packaging.”

On the day two, Alison Ingle, Group Packaging Manager at Nestlé explored packaging safety and compliance. Ingle commented:  “We need a multi-lateral approach when it comes to packaging safety and compliance. It is important for good relationships to be developed between companies and their suppliers, with regards to safety across the whole supply chain. It is imperative that requirements are fully understood during the development stage otherwise progress will falter at the first hurdle. Communication between each team at every stage of the process is key to producing safer packaging for consumers."

The show launched its first ever Drinks Symposium which saw speakers from The Lakes Distillery, Diageo and Glenfiddich demonstrating the power of packaging. Claire Negus, Design Leader at Diageo commented during her presentation: “Packaging acts as the embodiment of our brand. It takes time and effort to get it looking right, but it has to look beautiful so people desire it. Companies need to identify with the brands DNA and look at what makes the brand special before they start re-designing. Remember, you don’t have to change for the sake of changing.”  

Also new to the show were The Pharmaceutical Symposium and The Retail Symposium offering exhibitors and visitors from all spheres of the packaging and print world a unique programme of valuable and insightful content.

Michael Urso, Product Manager at Atlantic Zeiser discussed the importance of serialisation during his keynote Pharmaceutical Symposium presentation. Urso stated: “Serialisation is going to be the biggest challenge facing the pharmaceutical industry over the next few years. Those who have not at least made a start are really missing the boat. They need to start now! Time is money in the pharmaceutical industry and serialisation is key to saving time.” 

Show favourite, The BIG Print Debate, returned with a large interactive audience, who gathered to hear an all-female panel of packaging experts discuss: ‘As personalisation increasingly becomes the norm will its greatest impact be on the shelf or in the home?’ 

Nancy Janes, WW Graphics Solutions Business Program Director at HP, remarked: “It won’t become the norm. Technology keeps evolving and new formatting just hit the market, so digital print will continue to develop. Conventional packaging still has its place because volume will always be required; no-one really wants personalised toilet rolls! Digital, hybrid and conventional print all complement each other.”

“Getting the right balance is everything, commented Karen Graley, Packaging & Reprographics Manager, at Waitrose, “Digital enables us to refresh and pimp-up our products allowing the consumer to accessories their home, so if they want a certain coloured box of tissues in their home they can have it.” 

“It is an exciting time”, concluded Janes. “People want personalised packaging, so brand managers should try it and see the effect it has on their products. Start small and if it works roll it out, but just try it!”

Continuing the all-female theme was ‘Women in Packaging’, a brand new organisation launching at the show, designed to connect, support and recognise female employees within the Packaging Industry. The Founder of Women in Packaging, Joanna Stephenson commented: “The 'Women in Packaging' launch was really well received, with 50 women from right across the brand, retail and packaging sectors in attendance. I am already looking forward to the next networking event and building the database of women moving forward.”

The show also provided visitors with masses of other showfloor entertainment including the BPIF Carton’s Chatroom, Pack Personalisation with Xeikon, Live 3D Print Demos, The Ecopack Challenge, Recoup Plastics and Packaging Recycling Clinic, The Packaging Consultancy Clinic and The Mad Hatter’s Drinks Party. 

If that wasn’t enough many of the exhibitors used the show to launch products to the UK market: Martek launched its EBS-260 handheld inkjet printer; Afinia introduced its DLP-2000 Digital Label Press to the UK market and Audion Swissvac presented three new products - D775 MPCV Validatable Medical Continuous Sealer, its Airpillow Machine and Speedpack Hybride Bagging Machine – the list just keeps going!

The Benson Group had Masterchef finalist Dhruv Baker cooking up a storm for visitors attending their stand. Dhruv Baker, celebrity chef commented: “I have thoroughly enjoyed cooking for the show’s enthusiastic visitors and we've had lots of really inquisitive people, who have loved both the food and the packaging”.

Nikki Clark, Marketing Manager, at Benson Group added: “Packaging Innovations is always the highlight of Benson’s exhibiting calendar, and this 10th anniversary year was particularly successful for us both in terms of visitor footfall to our stand and in the number of positive business leads we generated. Our Theatre of Food was a new venture for Bensons – and having the fantastically charismatic Dhruv Baker doing live cooking demonstrations was a really exciting way to entice the crowds.”

Nick Smith, Managing Director at Parkside Group, exhibiting at the show, said: "The show has enabled us to raise our profile as a genuine specialty packaging innovations provider and the feedback on what we've shown, as well as attendance to the stand, has been fantastic. The quality of the visitors has been excellent and we expect to develop some significant new business as a result".

Exhibitor Malcolm Little, Managing Director at Advance Dynamics remarked: “This show always delivers. By lunchtime on the first day we’d done a deal with eVapor Electronic Cigarettes. They walked onto the stand and within 20 minutes purchased the ELF 50 labelling machine, with the potential of another!  Under normal circumstances it can take months to find a new client and close an order like that - and at the show we did it in minutes!  That’s because the NEC packaging show really knows how to attract the right kind of people, decision makers who are in the market to buy.  This show is about the whole industry and that’s really important as packaging is such an interconnected discipline.”

Brian Tyndall, Enercon Industries’ UK Sales Manager, also exhibiting, said: “Empack Birmingham is the only UK show we exhibit at every year. Once again it has been a fantastic show with much interest for induction cap sealers. In fact, if this show had closed at 2pm on its first day, we had more than enough enquiries already to make it worth exhibiting. Empack not only draws in a lot of our existing customers, but it is also a great place to meet new ones - it is a seed corn for future business. This is our fifth consecutive year in Birmingham and it has been the best by far. We have had record numbers visiting us and we look forward to returning again next year.”

The next Easyfairs packaging event will be Packaging Innovations London & Luxury Packaging, which moves to London Olympia on 16 & 17 September 2015. For anyone interested in exhibiting, more information can be found atwww.easyfairs.com/pi-london or via the show team on +44 (0)20 8843 8800 or PackagingUK@easyFairs.com.

 

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Label & Packaging Editor

Jennifer Matt

Patrick Henry, Section Editor
Pat has covered graphic communications for nearly 30 years as a reporter, an editor, and a commentator.

 

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