London Packaging Week opened its doors to just under 3,000 visitors on the opening day of the two-day luxury packaging showpiece at London's ExCel.
Event organisers Easyfairs reported a 64.1% increase on last year's attendance and a 27.7% increase in leads for the capacity of 170 exhibitors.
Speaking about the successful relocation to the ExCel International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Marketing Manager Naomi Stewart said: "The venue has been perfect. It just feels bigger, better, and more luxurious, and so many productive conversations are going on. We've tried to get around as many visitors as possible, and everyone is so happy. We've seen some really good brands come through the doors today: PZ Cussons, Superdrug and Lush, to name a few.
"The speaker programme has more than delivered and has brought in that fresh feel and younger audience we wanted to bring in. It's really taken off, and the whole event has come together."
With packaging a constant in our everyday lives, this year's theme appeared to be that packaging should be beautiful, functional, and sustainable; ideally, all three.
"At the last count, we'd had 208 scans, and we were number one on the list, so you can't do better than that!" said Andy Hodgkinson, Head of Packaging at Lyte Manufacturing Group. "It has been really positive, and we've met many companies wanting what we do. There are lots of other packaging companies that do what we do, but I think it's our approach to it that sets us apart.
"Everybody has been really interested in reducing plastic – that has been number one. It feels as though the world is definitely ready, whereas five or ten years ago, we could have come with all or samples and we'd have been told it's not big enough or bold enough or doesn't catch the eye, but times have changed and this is what people want."
PerfectTed Co-Founder Marisa Poster, fresh from delivering a candid and insightful look into the supercharged journey of their Matcha energy drink brand, could not wait to explore the packed halls and discuss all things packaging.
"It's fantastic to be here! We love talking about the growth journey and dispelling the facade that it has been easy to get here because people only see the highlight reel of your journey," she said. "But we really love to showcase all of the times we've experienced troubles and how we have been able to pivot and move past them. Everybody encounters obstacles in their day-to-day lives, whether it be work-related or personal. Hopefully, we can inspire people to know there is a pot of gold and what is a very, very long rainbow."
Beauty guru Liz Earle delivered an inspiring speech about her career journey as a multi-brand beauty and wellbeing entrepreneur, providing great insight into the customer journey and how communication has changed from when she first launched her skincare business at a time way before the internet came along.
‘I launched my first brand before social media existed, when customers communicated with you via letter. These days, with platforms like X, you get an onslaught within 15 minutes with ‘Why haven’t you replied, what are you trying to hide?’ so there’s huge amount of pressure and customers want to connect with Founders now more than ever so it’s a really difficult balancing act.”
Isabelle Le Graet, Marketing, Communication, and Sustainability Manager at major aluminium can manufacturer Eviosys, was delighted to use their platform on the Beauty & Drinks stage to address key questions regarding sustainable metal packaging.
"It's a fantastic platform to bring more visibility to the positive impact of metal packaging," said Le Graet. "I'm really glad we could participate this year, and I'm really hoping that many visitors can become aware of the benefits of metal packaging.
"There are a lot of packaging materials that are very vocal, and so much information can be misconstrued or misunderstood. Quite often, consumers are unsure about where to get the truth regarding sustainability. Every material has pros and cons, and we try to be as transparent as possible. There seems to be a lack of awareness and understanding of metal packaging, so it is a great opportunity to speak to the audience today."
Elsewhere, Defra dispatched its most significant and high-profile delegation to a packaging event to date. Caroline Wynn-Davies, Head of Business Readiness, Engagement and Participatory Design for Delivery, moved quickly to address the 'elephant in the room' on the Food & Consumer stage.
"You will have all heard the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday in terms of environmental packages," she said. "We do just want to reiterate that what was announced yesterday, in terms of Simpler Recycling, previously known as consistency, is still going ahead. We will come out with the consultation response on this and the details in the next few weeks. In terms of bins, it's now about allowing local councils to find the best way that fits for them to be able to do it in a way that is good for them and their residents. It hasn't disappeared, and it is still alive."
Defra also confirmed that the packaging data service for packaging producers obligated under EPR to report their data went live on August 16. More than 4,000 producers were registered in the first six weeks. The Department also encouraged businesses to submit their data as it will be used to calculate base fees and confirmed work was underway on modulated fees. Wynn-Davies reiterated the consultation on EPR regulations, which is currently live and closes on October 9, remains a fantastic opportunity to assist with developing the policy.