Event Round Up:
Packaging Innovations 2018

Inside Packaging rounds up the best ideas from Packaging Innovations 2018 held in Birmingham, UK

Credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) has opened its gates to industry leaders, world-class topic speakers and retailers for the annual Packaging Innovations event on 28 February and 1 March 2018.

Sustainability and the role of plastic in packaging took centre stage throughout the two-day conference, as the leading experts in the field debated on the how to safeguard the environment from pollution.

Inside Packaging rounds up the best ideas from the event.

Friendlier solutions: plastics can be eliminated

During the months leading up to Packaging Innovations 2018, the packaging and retail industries witnessed a huge increase in demand for environmentally-friendly solutions and were urged to phase out plastic from their products.

Within this framework, Easyfairs launched a competition for emerging companies to present their sustainable alternatives.

The resulting winners, Finnish non-profit organisation VTT, stood out for coming up with 100% renewable and compostable material solutions for multi-layered plastic packages for food packaging applications.

Among the participants was also British manufacturer James Cropper, which showcased its 100% renewable natural woods fibre that was used to produce creative packaging for brands like Lush and Floral Street.

Other companies took advantage of the occasion to introduce their alternatives to the much-discussed disposable coffees cups, which has triggered debate in the UK since January.
Yet, while many presented their plans to eliminate plastic, some instead tried to show how to use it in the best way. This was the case of RPC group, which showcased its packs made from sugarcane and recycled plastics.

Whether it was a matter of discussing its perks and flaws, its use or its alternatives, plastic packaging was clearly Packaging Innovations’ biggest protagonist.

New technologies: The role of AI in packaging and labelling

Investing in digital development was at the core of this year’s Packaging Innovations summit, since it helps to elevate the consumer experience to a new level.

In this category, OAL held a forum focused on the usefulness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in packaging systems to fix problems created by human errors in data code printing. Using AI, OAL created April Eye, a data code verification system that reads back and verifies dates codes.

Multi Packaging Solutions also invested in digital innovation to develop high-tech barcode that can interact with smartphones. These ‘SmarterBarcodes’ are able to transform a regular barcode into a two-way communication channel.

Meanwhile, LageenTubes presented a range of digital printing solutions with designs that can be touched and felt at 360° with the aim to improve consumer experience.

Expanding portfolios: innovation within food

A large number of packaging manufacturers focused on improving or expanding their food packaging portfolios in Birmingham this year.

Whether it was a matter of exploring how to help cut down food waste, encouraging consumers to cook more at home or finding new ways to improve the Food To Go sector, several companies have proved to be innovative, as well as original.

A paperboard KFC bucket – the brand’s first to be plastic-free and with improved resistance against excess oil – was on display at Graphic Packaging International’s stand. The British manufacturer also launched a new range of flexible-rigid packaging for food-to-go meals that is easy to open and reseal.

Kingsmoor Packaging showcased its portfolio of packaging with integrated thermoforming capability, suitable for pre-packed food and meals to have on the go.  

Lastly, ri2r also returned to Birmingham to exhibit its range of greaseproof paper products and array of wrinklewall and smoothwall semi-rigid aluminium foil containers, which have proved to be extremely popular this year in the UK.

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