Special Reports

2,000 cookies a minute: Robotics drive automation to unseen levels of efficiency

11 Feb 2019 --- Advances in robotics are facilitating ever-increasing speed and efficiency in packaging automation. Robots are able to perform menial, repetitive functions with far higher productivity than humans, allowing personnel to focus on higher value tasks. As the global population and levels of consumption continue to rise, robotics will be an increasingly significant factor in meeting the growing demand for packaged goods.

Microplastics: Micro or macro risk?

04 Feb 2019 --- Microplastics have been found in the guts of every marine mammal, including dolphins and whales, examined in a new study of animals washed up on UK shores. The new University of Exeter study joins an ever-growing list of research on the presence of microplastics in wildlife and natural habitats, from freshwater to marine settings. PackagingInsights takes a look at the most recent literature, consults experts on the topic, and asks: How big is the microplastics threat and is enough being done?

“New year, new me”: What makes good packaging design in 2019?

25 Jan 2019 --- When it comes to redesigning or “revamping” packaging designs, the first and foremost question posed should always be “why.” Is the brand expanding its target demographic, for example, or its sustainability credentials? Both are common reasons that prompt companies to knock at designers’ doors. PackagingInsights speaks to designers from within the industry to understand what questions must be asked and what trends are pushing redesigns.

Packaging trends 2019: Part 2 – Embracing the digital age

11 Jan 2019 --- In Part 1 of Packaging trends 2019, PackagingInsights explored the biggest driver in packaging today: sustainability. Sustainability is at the center of another major trend – the rise of e-commerce – which is set for a pivotal year, especially after Amazon announced that its Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) program will be enforced with financial penalties as of October 1, 2019, in five major EU countries and August 1, 2019, in the US and Canada. Part 2 explores this major trend in addition to another anticipated development in 2019: the continuing popularization of connective packaging technologies.

Packaging trends 2019: Part 1 – The search for sustainability

08 Jan 2019 --- Packaging trends in 2018 were dominated by sustainability action, largely fueled by rising anti-plastic sentiment. It was a year that saw widespread bans on single-use plastic items, the announcement of The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and the launch of the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisles in Amsterdam and London. At the same time, the milestone merger of two plastic giants in Amcor and Bemis suggests that there are still major players ready to invest in the future of the material. In the first of a two part report on packaging trends, PackagingInsights speaks to several industry experts about what to anticipate in 2019, starting with the most hotly contested trend: sustainability.

2018 in review: Single-use plastic reduction, compostable solutions and e-commerce packaging trend

21 Dec 2018 --- This year saw a flurry of activity in plastics, largely fueled by concerns around the rapidly rising levels of plastic waste seeping into the environment. In respect to sustainability, huge strides were made, including high profile, strategic collaborations which attracted some of the largest names in the business. Innovative biodegradable and compostable materials also sprouted in parallel to rising anti-plastic sentiment. 

Packaging for emerging markets: Urbanization and adapting consumers drive NPD opportunity

30 Nov 2018 --- Many emerging markets, such as India, Brazil, China, Indonesia and South Africa, are undergoing rapid urbanization and modernization. Often, these areas are seeing vast demographic and social shifts, such as an increasing number of women entering the workforce and average population ages far lower than in developed markets. These are just some facets contributing to the unique opportunity emerging markets present to the packaging industry. Finding ways to address the needs of a growing and rapidly urbanizing population, while limiting food losses and waste, are becoming key priorities for the global packaging industry.

Cannabis is a packaging industry “without precedent,” says AssurPack Founder

27 Nov 2018 --- Following 30 years in the pharmaceutical packaging business, Founder of AssurPack, Nancy Gruskin Warner, entered the emerging, yet somewhat booming, cannabis industry. Consumers are demanding when it comes to packaging and there is no exception when it comes to the cannabis market. However, as Warner tells PackagingInsights, “this is an industry without precedent,” with suppliers facing challenges related to swiftly changing regulations. However, the growing market and consumer enthusiasm do present ample opportunity for packaging NPD.

Paper-based packaging: Environmental benefits and “natural” aesthetics drive growth

26 Oct 2018 --- Paper and paperboard have witnessed somewhat of a resurgence, fueled by anti-plastic sentiment and a growing global demand for designed-in recyclability. Not only is paper a naturally renewable, recyclable and compostable material, it can also add value to packaging with the appearance of “naturalness” in an increasingly eco-conscious consumer market. In terms of shelf-appeal, paper also provides an excellent printing substrate with potential for high-quality graphics to effectively communicate brand values (and sustainability credentials).

Tetra Pak: Sustainability, rightsizing for emerging markets and standing out on-the-shelf driving carton design

15 Oct 2018 --- Sustainability, widening emerging markets and optimizing packs for on-the-go convenience are some of the market aspects driving Tetra Pak's carton design. At Tetra Pak’s event, Inside Tetra Pak, held last week at its headquarters in Lund, Sweden, PackagingInsights gained an insight into the ways in which the company is keeping abreast of changing customer demands and increasing the effectiveness and diversity of its packaging.

E-commerce drives packaging innovation amid Amazon’s new Frustration-Free rules

01 Oct 2018 --- The rise in e-commerce has redefined the requirements of FMCG packaging from the supply chain to brand identity, presenting both challenges and opportunities. The demand for packaging which is specifically designed for e-commerce has further intensified amid Amazon’s new requirements, announced last month, for Frustration-Free solutions which are appropriately sized, consumer-friendly, protective and more sustainable.

Diversification in snacking: Consumer trends drive ample NPD

25 Sep 2018 --- Consumers are increasingly seeking options to be consumed on the go and with ease, spurring ample NPD and innovation from an array of market areas. Snacks need to tick the health, as well as convenience, box. It is expected that snacks will continue to undergo healthy transformations, and healthy meals being repurposed into snacks through convenient packaging. PackagingInsights takes a look at some of the innovative offerings to the snacking market.

Healthcare packaging: Innovating for a patient-centric market

10 Sep 2018 --- Due to a changing pharmaceutical model and pending US legislation requiring drug manufacturers to package opioids using child-resistant/senior-friendly (CR/SF) blister packaging, adherence packaging in the healthcare industry is more important now than ever, according to Dave Dwyer, Vice President of Global Strategic Marketing at WestRock Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS).

Thinking outside of the box? Reusable and returnable models of packaging

04 Sep 2018 --- Reusable packaging is a staple in many peoples day to day lives, from simple packed lunches in plastic containers to the water bottle that gets carted from the gym to home and back again. Pepsi's recent US$3.2 billion acquisition of SodaStream, a home carbonation product that can replace the repetitive purchase of bottles of sparkling water, does evidence a shift in thinking around reusing resources. However, amid the sustainability debate, there tends to be a stronger focus on recycle over reuse. Is it time for reusable packaging concepts to move into the mainstream? PackagingInsights takes a look at some innovative reusable concepts in the e-commerce, food delivery and personal care markets.

Single-use plastics bans: Confronting the elephant in the water?

21 Aug 2018 --- The recent months have seen a string of food and beverage heavyweights declare war on single-use plastics – such as straws – with bold eradication targets. There are said to be 8.3 million straws littering our coastlines, but this number is rather small in the wider context of there being eight million metric tons of plastic in the oceans – of which straws account for only 0.03 percent, according to media outlet Bloomberg. How much of an impact will such bans have on the plastic waste problem?

Packaging for pets: A walk in the park?

13 Aug 2018 --- Packaging for pets is big business – it is estimated to account for around five percent of the total European demand for flexible plastic-based packaging. It explains why many leading suppliers have designated pet packaging teams. The challenges are varied – from pet-specific considerations such as the need for industry-high hygiene, clean dispensing and shelf-life standards, to more general packaging focuses including brand appeal and sustainability demands. Three pet packaging specialists – Mondi, Constantia Flexibles and Amcor – speak to PackagingInsights about the challenges and latest solutions in pet packaging.

Connective technologies lead packaging into the digital future

23 Jul 2018 --- Connected Packaging and the Internet of Things (IoT) has opened up a world of possibilities for brands to communicate with their customers in more engaging and proactive ways. Brand owners are beginning to realize the massive potential of pioneering technologies such as Near-Field communication (NFC), QR codes, barcode scan and Augmented Reality (AR) in increasing brand loyalty and awareness and better understanding consumer behavior.

Packaging for sports nutrition: “Decoding” complex products for the mainstream market 

18 Jul 2018 --- Packaging not only protects and preserves the inner contents but also plays a communicative role by supplying the consumer with essential information. Sports nutrition has made the leap from niche market to mainstream, giving suppliers new impetus to do all they can to stand out. NutritionInsight investigates some of the trends in the sports nutrition packaging market, and key concerns that come with a market that is ever evolving.

On-the-go packaging solutions pick up speed to accommodate modern consumerism

05 Jul 2018 ---  Much of the modern consumer market lives life on-the-go, consuming higher volumes of drinks and snacks outside of the home than ever before. The convenience and functionality of on-the-go packaging can be the difference between one product and another at point-of-sale. Packaging suppliers are responding to the on-the-go challenge with an increasing range and diversity of innovative mobile packaging solutions and technologies.

Labels of the future: Sustainable and technological drivers in packaging

25 Jun 2018 --- Innovation within labels is expanding and diversifying to meet the challenges of modern consumerism. Food and beverage companies are producing more environmentally-conscious products and labels are the medium through which this message can be conveyed to the increasingly mindful consumer. Label suppliers are conscious too that their solutions are compatible with sustainable packaging types so as to avoid creating issues related to waste disposal. Innovation in labels is also centered on customer engagement and brand appeal, as technological advancements enable labels to connect consumers with products in new and exciting ways.