Henderson Nevada was the site for the recent Packaging Conference. Global economics, sustainable packaging, “Back To The Future,” health and wellness; these trends and more offered a thought-provoking line-up that will help us better serve our clients. Here are our key takeaways.

  1. Global economics are becoming more challenging as brands try to deliver sustainable packaging solutions. China has a huge surplus of virgin plastics, driving commodity prices lower than post consumer recycled content. The efforts of the bottling industry to make lighter-weight options have made collecting post consumer packaging a less profitable business model, changing the supply chain of PCR. The US lags significantly behind compared to the rest of the world. Who is going to pay for sustainability going forward? Ultimately it will require systems and cultural changes.
  2. “Show car” product and packaging concepts – used at the right times and in the right channels – are worth the investment. Pepsi crated 15,000 “Back to the Future” concepts for 2015. It received more publicity than their Super Bowl ads at $160K per second. Investing in small executions can deliver big pay-offs.
  3. New food and beverage processing technologies are a hit with consumers, delivering better quality, taste and nutrition. HHP (high pressure processing) eliminates the needs for preservatives and high temperature. Compared to the 100-year old retort process, MATS (Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilization) delivers with shorter, high temperature processing for better taste, less preservatives and longer shelf life.
  4. Small start-ups are innovating at a pace unachievable by big CPGs who are striving to reinvent. We are seeing that traditional paths to market are no longer working. Change is on the way.
  5. Health and wellness continues to drive the food and beverage industries. Traditional categories like milk decline as healthier alternative brands like fairlife and others take market share. Consumers are demanding authenticity and transparency in how products are made and where they are sourced. These trends will continue to impact the innovation pipeline.
  6. Growth in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) is slowing. U.S-based brands need to refocus on domestic product innovations. Many of the major companies that build infrastructure in China are struggling to generate revenue. Lack of cooperation from the local governments is making capital investments a challenge. Time to re-invest in the U.S.

Let’s continue on the path of ongoing education and knowledge sharing. I’d love to hear your top takeaways. Please send me a note and share.