The UK’s biggest packaging show reports record success. Packaging Innovations, which closed its doors last Thursday at the NEC, attracted 6004 unique visitors over the two days, an 18 percent increase on last year, with 77 percent of exhibitors rebooking onsite for next year’s show.
The show which took place at Birmingham’s NEC, 26 & 27 February 2014, included packaging buyers from major names such as GlaxoSmithKline, Lush Cosmetics, Heineken, Britvic Soft Drinks, Danone, Asda and Proctor & Gamble; exhibitors where delighted with the buzz and the visitor footfall from the moment the doors opened.
Alison Church, Event Director at easyFairs UK Ltd, commented: "We couldn’t be more thrilled with how the show went last week – an easyFairs record breaker. The show was lively from start to finish, with both visitor and exhibitor numbers up, we are in a great position to take the show to new heights next year. 2015 will be an even bigger year for us, as the show will be celebrating its 10th edition, so it’s an exciting time for those who are involved with the show."
Derek Payne, Director of Dubble Bubble Ltd, visiting the show, remarked: "Packaging Innovations NEC is without doubt the premier show for packaging innovations. It brings together all aspects of packaging and print, under the general umbrella of innovation. This show is not about today, it showcases what’s about to happen tomorrow. We are so impressed that we will be exhibiting next year, with our own packaging innovation."
Packaging Innovations was co-located with six other shows: Ecopack, Contract Pack, Packtech, Print Innovations, Labelling Innovations, and Converting with product launches happening in each. Bag Re:Born launched a new eco-innovation for the carrier bag market; i-Sub Digital successfully rolled out its exclusive Digi-Foil system, which creates colour-accurate mock-ups in under ten minutes; plus Folding carton manufacturer, Benson Group, unveiled its new range of food-to-go products under the Benson Delilicious brand name.
Hayley Mustad, Key Account Manager, at IBIS Packaging Solutions, exhibiting at the show, said: "The footfall this year has been great, with key decision makers from blue chip companies coming onto the stand. Great show, so much so we have booked for 2015, and gone for a bigger stand!"
Also exhibiting at the show was Mark Baker-Homes, Director of Business Development at Intec Printing Solutions, who remarked: "It’s refreshing to see so much interest and demand for the packaging and labelling market. We had blue chip companies coming onto the stand, but also start-ups looking to get into packaging with genuine enthusiasm, which is great to see. We could not have asked for a better show and the easyFairs team is great – they provide fantastic show support, and realise the true value of business. We’ll certainly be here next year."
The event included a two-day comprehensive free-to-attend learnShops seminar programme, with world-class speakers from DHL Supply Chain, Iceland Foods, The Barts Ingredients TM Co Ltd, Recoup, Marks and Spencer, Wilkinson, Tesco, and Oloves.
Topping the bill was packaging Guru Lars Wallentin, Founder of packagingsense.com, who remarked on the importance of consumer communication within the industry:
"Your brand’s positioning determines what you are going to do. Clear positioning will help you define that ‘big idea’, otherwise you are only selling on price. Whatever we do – whether it’s telling a story through packaging or creating an opening ritual, such as Corona and lime or Oreo with its twist, lick, dunk ritual – it’s important to create a synergy between the brand and the consumer. In the world of packaging where creativity is endless, it’s essential to communicate your message, rather than using your logo to sell. Change the information on your packaging into real communication."
On the second day, Julia Cole, UK and Ireland Marketing Manager at HP, and Trevor Smith from Amberley Adhesive Labels, demonstrated how digital can help brands create a more personal relationship with consumers. Cole remarked: "More brands than ever are engaging directly with the consumer and can utilise the benefits of digital printing to achieve this. As brands learn of the capabilities of digital printing for packaging, they will begin to leverage those techniques that differentiate their products and drive sales by extending their marketing campaigns in to the packaging itself. Shorter runs, just in time delivery and minimal inventory are all key factors in reducing costs and reducing the time to market and digital can help make this possible."
In addition, the show featured the BIG Print Debate, where Reproflex3, Iceland Foods, Faraday, Print Week and Elmwood London debated: ‘Latest print technologies – gimmick or sound ROI?’. There was a general consensus that there are opportunities for band owners to employ these new printing techniques, but must take care, and to only use them to provide relevant and useful information.
Peter Aldous, Creative Services Director at Elmwood London stated: "Brand value is key; special effects have to be used wisely, if you are using the latest technologies to drive brand loyalty, then it is worth doing, but if it’s not driving loyalty, it’s just a gimmick."
A show favourite was The BIG Packaging Debate, where over 100 visitors gathered to hear a panel of packaging experts discuss: ‘Packaging – designed for the consumer or the supply chain?’. This year’s panel, chaired by Kevin Vyse, included Echo Brand Design, DHL Packaging Services Europe, Alliance Boots and The Consumer Voice held the general opinion that the supply chain may well be increasing in complexity, but so are consumers’ lives and the way we market to them. The opinion was that flexibility and agility was key to future retail and concluded that perhaps there is a general need for packaging to reflect in-store and online demands more simply, with the real opportunity to reduce secondary packaging. Continuing to educate the consumer about the possibilities of reusing or refilling a product, rather than recycling was also an underlying theme.
Chris Blackwell, Marketing Manager, at Delipca visiting the show commented: "Great speaker line-up from major brand owners to packaging converters and logistics. This year’s seminars have been really high quality and very informative, providing the latest thinking and developments within the packaging and print industry."
The show was also packed with new interactive show features. Recoup hosted a Plastics and Packaging Recycling Clinic; and Campden BRI helped visitors understand what drives consumer spending and store navigation with its eye-tracking technology.
The big news hitting the show floor was the announcement from show organiser, easyFairs, who unveiled its future vision for its packaging shows. Its packaging portfolio, right across Europe, will evolve around four major core show concepts: Packaging Innovations, Empack, Label&Print and Luxury Packaging.
For the NEC this means the entire packaging spectrum will be unified under the three dynamic core brands: Packaging Innovations, Empack and Label&Print.
Alison Church, Event Director for easyFairs’ UK packaging events, said: "These are exciting times for our packaging shows; focusing on these concepts will take us into our next stage of growth – firstly to build leading shows that communicate effectively with our markets, and then secondly, to expand our portfolio globally!"
The next UK packaging event in 2014 takes place at the Business Design Centre in London on 30 September and 1 October 2014 focusing on its two strong concepts – Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging – making it the capital’s most exciting and inspirational showcase for everything new and exclusive in packaging design.
Packaging Innovations, Empack and Label&Print will also take place at Birmingham’s NEC on 25 and 26 February in 2015.