The UK’s biggest packaging show just reaffirmed itself as the leading event of its kind! Packaging Innovations, running alongside Label&Print and Empack, closed its doors on Thursday to two packed NEC halls, 160 product launches, and a series of new show features, whilst boasting the very best and brightest in packaging and print, on an international scale.
The show, which took place on 24 & 25 February 2016, welcomed major names including British Airways, Samsung, Young’s Seafood, Amazon, Tesco, Mars, Kimberly-Clark, LUSH, TATA Steel and Dairy Crest. Gerry Sherwood, Event Director for Easyfairs’ UK Packaging Events, comments:
“The show has once again proven that it is the go-to event for all packaging and print professionals. We want to extend a thank to all of those who attended, giving the show a real buzz and making it such a success. This year more than ever we welcomed the best and brightest from within the industry, along with key trends and the very latest innovation on an international scale. We also had a phenomenal 73 per cent of our exhibitor’s rebook stands for next year’s show, which just highlights how important the shows are to them. Bring on 2017!”
Paul McKendrick, General Manager at Creative Whisky Company visiting the show, remarked: “This is my first trade show ever, and it has been a real eye-opener for me. It has been really positive in terms of organisational focus; I would rate the show as a huge success!”
The sell-out show featured a packed Learnshops programme, with speakers from Innocent Drinks, Kraft Heinz, Britvic, Taylors of Harrogate, John Lewis, Wilkos, JML Group, The Body Shop, SABMiller plc, Quorn Foods and many other leading brands.
Among the speakers on day one was Graham Fox, Packaging Operations Team Leader from Innocent Drinks who discussed ‘closing the packaging skills gap’. Fox remarked: "Part of the problem is a skills mismatch rather than a skills gap. There's a risk that companies recruit people who are over-qualified for a role. They then inevitably become demotivated and leave. For instance, those who have done science and technology training don't want to start on the ground floor. You need to give them a sense of where they are going in their career with you."
On day two, Simon Elder, R&D Section Head at Proctor & Gamble, discussed how to find packaging inspiration from outside of the industry. Elder commented: “Innovation is simply solving a problem. If you have a genuine problem that can be shared, share it and solutions will come. I do feel that if you can bring innovation in at the design stage, it will help innovation flourish throughout the whole packaging process.”
The show launched its first ever Great Innovation Debate, which saw experts from Britvic Soft Drinks, Essentra, Innocent and Bacardi discuss ‘What is Innovation?’, with Stefan Casey, Business Innovation Manager for Retail, Food & Drink at The Retail Institute chairing the debate. One key theme touched upon was finding new packaging innovation. The panel agreed that a more modern approach must be adopted, looking at crowd-sourcing and social media in order to find the next innovations; as well as being open to collaborations and looking at ways we could unsettle the marketplace.
Fox concluded: “When you look at companies like Uber and Airbnb, they have disrupted sectors where no-one thought it was feasibly possible, yet look where they are now. In order to innovate we need to reinvent; we need someone to work out what needs to be done and the right way of doing it.”
Also new to the show was The Rising Star Scheme, which provided an opportunity for organisations still in their infancy to achieve their packaging goals; and The Innovation Showcase, that highlighted the very latest innovations in the industry.
The Drinks, Pharmaceutical and Retail Symposia were back by popular demand, presenting visitors with the chance to hear real-life stories, offering advice and unveiling the latest concepts sweeping the relevant industry.
Iain Stirling, Co-Founder and Owner of Arbikie Highland Estate, speaking at the Drinks Symposium, commented: “When you look at the branding of your own product, you realise just how important it is. Customers need to remember why they buy your products, so the more unique the branding the greater recognition and brand loyalty it will receive.”
Crowds flocked to see show favourite, The BIG Print Debate, return to the NEC chaired by Jo Francis, Editor at PrintWeek, with a learned panel, including Andy Abbott, General Manager at Dantex UK; John Bambery, Chairman at BPIF Labels; Douglas Hutt, Global Packaging Manager at SABMiller and Marian Stefani, CEO at IPIA. The interactive discussion looked at whether analogue print can survive in a digital world. Hutt remarked:
“All packaging can be printed digitally or via analogue, the major challenge is to make sure it looks seamless on shelf. We don’t want consumers asking if the product is different, just because the packaging looks different. It is therefore important that both digital and analogue print work together, ensuring a unified look, which is appealing to the consumer.”
If that wasn’t enough many of the exhibitors used the show to launch products to the UK market: Fantastak launched its SuperRoller; Skanem unveiled its new intelligent labels; Waddington Europe presented its new packaging material, Hydrozorb (H-PET); Dantex Graphics launched its PicoColour II UV inkjet digital press and AG/CAD Ltd debuted its state of the art DYSS X5 digital cutter – the list just keeps going!
After a hugely successful show, Gavin Ashe, Managing Partner at Kite Packaging, said: “It is such a great event. We have had a huge footfall of visitors to our stand, who were all keen to look at our new and innovative products. Our PaperJet Delivery System in particular attracted some really quality visitors, as did our Auto Airshock Machine. What a fantastic two days!”
Also at the show was returning exhibitor Simon Dix, Sales Director at Vetroplas Packaging, who agreed: “We always look forward to exhibiting at Packaging Innovations. It’s a fantastic platform to showcase our packaging solutions for the skincare and cosmetic markets, particularly the premium glass packaging we’ve become renowned for. This event is focussed on looking ahead to the future of packaging and we always aim to use it as an opportunity to highlight our latest products. It’s also been an excellent opportunity to catch up with those we’ve already had the pleasure of working with and, because we know that this event only attracts those with a real interest, we’re confident we will also have made lots of new, valuable contacts for the next decade to come.”