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Industry: Packaging of the future to reflect changing society, grow in complexity

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Industry: Packaging of the future to reflect changing society, grow in complexity

June 19, 2013 - 22:10

BRUSSELS, June 20, 2013 (PPI Europe) -Customization, sustainability and complexity were the key buzzwords during a session on packaging trends at the WCO/ICCA Summit in Paris on May 14-16, where speakers from vente-privee.com, Unilever and Smurfit Kappa presented their views on the box of the future.

Hervé Parizot, COO of the European e-commerce firm vente-privee.com, offered his views on packaging as a means to help tackle the problem of increasing complexity of e-commerce businesses.

"At vente-priveé we are shipping all kinds of products to our customers. We have to pack a range of products from watches to furniture, which is an extremely difficult challenge," Parizot said, adding that packaging customization would help solve the issue of product diversification on several levels, including product category, size and weight.

Increasingly complicated logistics due to a growing number of customers and geographical presence was highlighted by Parizot as one more important issue for his business.

Parizot said that in view of the business specifics, there is now a strong demand within the e-commerce sector for flexible packaging solutions that are able to offer a diversity of forms, and that this trend will continue.

One concrete improvement that would help e-commerce packaging would be an improved wedging system, that would allow a product to be solidly fixed inside a box to minimize the risk of breaking or damaging an item, Parizot said.

Among other issues that could be addressed through adequate packaging, Parizot highlighted efficient protection from possible external damage caused by perforation. Solutions addressing ease of opening and attractiveness to consumers were also high on his priority list for packaging quality upgrades.

The issue of future trends in retail ready packaging (RRP) was presented by SKG UK's sales and marketing director Adrian Bird and packaging development manager Phil Husband via an interactive sketch. While considering the role of RRP in improving the retailer's job and the shopper's experience in a store, the SKG executives stressed the fact that corrugated packaging fulfills the so-called "five easies" - easy to recognize, easy to open, easy to shelf, easy to shop and easy to recycle, outperforming packaging made from non-paper materials.

RRP suppliers, however, must continuously improve their product to satisfy expectations of retailers and brand owners, the two said.

According to Bird and Husband, only 3% of shoppers are loyal to a specific chain, and 75% of shoppers' decisions about what to buy are made in stores. At the same time, shoppers are becoming smarter as they are able to check product information online at any time. While RRP responds to these changes, performing the role of "silent salesman," more can be done. Customized and personalized corrugated solutions should be developed to adapt to the new trend of online shopping and home delivery, according to SKG.

The growing complexity of paper packaging solutions stemming from innovative design and flexibility in the use of various fluting types is the main future trend for the corrugated industry, according to SKG's VP marketing, research & development, corrugated division, Arco Berkenbosch.

When considering future demands for packaging, Berkenbosch said that packaging trends have to follow a changing society.

In order to create a box of the future, "the iBox," as it were, corrugated packaging producers are expected to take on new challenges, for example, becoming better versed in advanced design skills.

"[Corrugated packaging producers] have to become graphic designers in order to make packaging a dynamic experience," said Berkenbosch.