Packaging Innovations sees record visitors in 10th year

Monday, Mar 09, 2015

The Packaging Innovations event closed its doors last week boasting record numbers. Some 6,585 visitors made straight for the stands of 350 exhibitors, trumping last year’s event in size and scope.

Packaging Innovations, incorporating Contract Pack and Ecopack, as well as Empack and Label&Print, included product launches and more than 40 seminars at Birmingham’s NEC.

Meanwhile Packaging Innovations and Luxury Pack London, in another sign of the event’s growing stature and lofty ambitions, relocates this September from the modest Business Design Centre in north London to the more spacious Olympia in west London for its sixth edition.

“Visitor numbers this year were 10% up on last year,” said Easyfairs’ marketing project manager Shona Thomson of last month’s show. “A key draw this year was learning workshops and seminars. The show was also more focused: last year we had several themes but this year it was three. More people were aware of Empack and machines as well as labelling and printing.”

Easyfairs’ event director Alison Church also caught the vibe. “The show has grown and the attendance figures are incredible. We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Feedback from visitors and exhibitors has been fantastic on the show’s 10th anniversary,” she said.

Those visitors and exhibitors included big corporate names such as GlaxoSmithKline, Coca-Cola and Mars. New UK launches included Martek’s EBS-260 hand-held inkjet printer and Afinia’s DLP-2000 digital label press. Audion Swissvac unveiled the D775 MPCV validatable medical continuous sealer, its Airpillow machine and the Speedpack hybrid bagging machine.

Other highlights of this year’s show included an extensive ‘learnshops’ programme, with speakers from Nestlé, Marks & Spencer, Gü Puds, Blippar, Hubbub and Recoup. Beauty expert Craig-Alexander Wilson drew attention to the brand loyalty that skincare products generate and pointed out that “packaging plays a major role in this”.

Nestlé group packaging manager Alison Ingle explored packaging safety and compliance, calling for strong relationships between companies and suppliers to cover the entire supply chain on safety and compliance. New to the show was a drinks symposium with the likes of Glenfiddich demonstrating the power of packaging.

Diageo design leader Claire Negus said packaging embodied her brand and companies had to identify with a “brand’s DNA”. Pharmaceutical and retail symposiums included a talk from Atlantic Zeiser product manager Michael Urso, who said serialisation was going to be the biggest challenge facing the pharmaceutical industry in years to come
But the acid test on show success is its exhibitors. Glossop Cartons’ sales director Jacky Sidebottom-Every was happy: “The show was brilliant; footfall was good and our staff were busy in the core hours of 11am to 3.30pm. There was a good visitor mix, from start-ups to large-brand, blue-chip companies.

“The format also works well; in one day you can see so many different options and types of packaging – plastics, labels, cartons or acetates – so it represents good value per hour. But any more than two days might dilute what the event has to offer. I would have to think long and hard on how to improve Packaging Innovations.”

CS Labels’ managing director Simon Smith agreed, with minor reservations: “It was an excellent show, with a significant increase in exhibitor and visitor numbers. We got several prospects to follow up in the coming months. Presentations were more informative than in previous years, but it’s a bit of a moot point on just how much innovation there was overall.

“We had lots of stand footfall, as we had something new to offer; I don’t think just telling people about self-adhesive labels would drive so much traffic. Some of the stands didn’t say much about innovation, but tried to sell the company. I also felt some of the add-ons, such as the availability of wifi and scanning people into the show need to be improved – this is, after all, about innovation.”

Amberley Labels’ sales manager David Beeby said: “Footfall increased on last year while quality of prospects was as good, with many established brands showing an interest in what we had to offer. We’ve had press exposure with work we’ve done with Coca-Cola, which no doubt helped.

“Easyfairs did a very good job; there was a good mix of industries and market sectors. We may miss the NEC show next year – which is no bad reflection on the event – and go instead to Olympia later this year. Sometimes you have to mix it up, especially when you are developing new products and services.”


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