Friday, January 29, 2016

Providing Protection


      by Greg Kishbaugh

     In a retail environment that increasingly requires packages to be de facto salespeople, explaining everything about the product inside, it can often seem as if we have forgotten the original intention and purpose of packaging, that of protection.
     World demand for protective packaging is projected to increase 6.1 percent annually to nearly $27 billion in 2018, according to a study from The Freedonia Group.
     This growth represents a significant improvement over statistics from the period between 2008 and 2013, when demand slacked off in many of the world’s largest markets, including the United States, Japan and Western Europe. Manufacturing has surged in all of these areas, however, and this new activity is expected to boost demand for protective packaging.

     Another key driver of the market’s expansion is the continued growth in Internet retailing.
     Because the Asia-Pacific region still possesses several large developing economies, it is expected to grow at a faster clip than other regions around the globe.
     “China will remain the largest market in the region and post rapid advances even as its economic growth begins to decelerate from the remarkable pace of the past few decades,” according to analyst Mike Richardson.

     The Africa/Mideast region and Eastern Europe will also experience above average growth, though both will remain fairly small regional markets. Advances are expected to be below the global average in North America and Western Europe.
     Environmentally friendly protective packaging will be at the forefront of growth opportunities, particularly in developed countries, as will the explosive expansion of Internet-based shopping, which continues to grow at a pace that outstrips retail activity.
     According to Freedonia, the e-commerce has created immense opportunities for manufacturers of protective packaging materials. Without question, online retail is a relatively small minority compared to brick and mortar shopping, but its share is expanding more rapidly as retailers expand their e-commerce presence, Internet accessibility continues to increase, and ownership of smartphones and other mobile devices grows. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Out With The Old


      by Greg Kishbaugh

     As a new year dawns, it seems appropriate to look ahead at what may be in store for the packaging industry. Mintel, the London, England-based market research firm has done just that, releasing what it feels are the six key trends that will impact the global packaging markets over the next year.

     Consumer demand for clean labeling will gain momentum, Mintel forecasts, placing converters in a bit of a Catch-22. For while converters state they want more information on packages so they can make more informed decisions, consumers also are conversely demanding that their packaging is less cluttered. This provides a great challenge to converters in the new year as they struggle to get more data on packaging, while simultaneously making it look ‘cleaner’.
     The encroachment of flexible packaging into areas typically dominated by other forms of packaging will continue. Converters will discover innovative ways to incorporate flexible packaging — possibly hybrids with rigid packaging — to ensure greater functional and environmental benefits.
     As comes as no surprise, the environment and eco-friendly packaging is predicted to remain at the forefront of concerns for consumers. Increasingly it is becoming clear that consumers are basing purchasing decisions on the environmentally sound attributes of a products’ packaging. Brands and converters must continually — and aggressively — strive to remain innovative in the ways they approach sustainability.
     As a subset of the environmental issue, Mintel sees converters
ability to produce right-sized packages as gaining importance to consumers in the new year.
     Mintel see mobile-engaged packaging (already a tremendous source of innovation) to make further inroads in 2016. As brands seek more efficient and effective ways to engage with consumers, the mobile environment will be at the forefront of efforts to win customer loyalty.
     Finally, digital printing, Mintel believes,will continue to create opportunities for brands to engage consumers on a local and personal level.
     “There’s a parallel path between brands striving to engage consumers on a more personal level and consumers’ expectations for packaging to deliver that experience,” David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel, said.“Digital print that creates ‘hyper’ personal experiences; clean-label messaging that enhances brand transparency and builds purchasing confidence; eco-responsible packaging that empowers social consciousness; next-gen hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence; right-sized product packaging that meets consumer needs and shifting use-occasions; and apps that support ‘mobile-engaged’ packaging. These are the key themes we see resonating with consumers in 2016. Brands and manufacturers are innovating packaging to keep global consumers engaged and to develop brand loyalty which is becoming more and more intangible in an age where consumers have more choices than ever across all packaged goods.”

Monday, November 30, 2015

Growing Awareness


      by Greg Kishbaugh

     A number of trends promise to drive the global packaging industry forward in the coming months. According to the Global Packaging Trends Report for 2015, sponsored by the Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA), three prime trends are influencing every region: growing consumer awareness of health and wellness, stronger influence of recycling and environmental issues, and increasing disposable income and purchasing power. 

     Increased urbanization, convenience, smaller pack sizes, branding strategies, Internet retailing, and premiumisation — the demand for better and more expensive variants — are regional trends that are gaining traction.
     “These trends are affecting packaging because they’re driving consumers’ purchasing choices,” said Mark Dingley, Chairman, APPMA. “Recyclability and reusability of packaging are dominant trends and the report is predicting that this will continue.”
     Predictions for the Middle East and Africa markets are very strong with 5.3 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate  in volume anticipated. Forecasts for Western Europe and North America are not as robust, coming in at 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Growth in Asia Pacific is predicted to be strong, as well, at 4.3 percent CAGR.
     Despite being a mature market, North America will see many opportunities as consumers develop increased interest in sustainable products.
     Globally, flexible plastic accounts for 29 percent of the market. PET bottles accounts for 12 percent of the market but is expected to be among the fastest growing, with 4.7 percent CAGR. Bottled water is expected to add 135 billion units through 2019, accounting for 54 percent of the absolute volume growth in PET bottle use.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Staying Lean


       Kevin Wilken

     As we continue our ever-evolving journey as an industry and a company, I’ve had the privilege to learn quite a bit over the past year. Our industry continues to see consolidation, from the expanding reach of multi-national corporations to vibrant activity at the local and regional levels as niche brands and ‘boutique’ products emerge from the increasingly popular ‘farm to table’ and ‘buy local’ concepts. Both ends of the spectrum offer a lot of opportunity for printing and converting shops to carve out their own approach to supporting these market spaces. 

     To meet these ever-changing printed label and package demands, converters are more eager to invest in their operations while keeping workflows streamlined and Lean. They are looking for partners who understand their unique needs and will work closely with them to meet those needs. This means much more than advanced equipment. It includes a demand for access to knowledgeable, experienced people, able to help solve unique problems or work alongside the converter to optimize not only their equipment but develop sustainable, profitable operations.
     At Mark Andy, we continue to evolve as well, organizing ourselves to be a partner to printers and converters, fully supporting their productivity and profitability needs. This goes beyond our renowned and on-going commitment to designing and building the most relevant equipment for our industry.  Today, we are cultivating an organization able to support any aspect of print and pressroom workflows. Our goal is to be accessible and available every day to:
     • Educate converters with the best printing practices and maintenance training — Mark Andy University.
     • Share knowledge and expertise in response to day-to-day challenges from applications to automation — Mark Andy and Rotoflex’s vast engineering proficiency.
     • Provide the right supplies and consumables to keep your daily workflow running smooth — Mark Andy Print Products.

     Our Performance Series in-line flexo presses continue to set the pace with a high quality print platform that delivers productivity, reduced waste and enhanced profitability. These are proven deliverables as this quarter we close in on our 450th Performance Series installation. As we continue to develop this popular technology, an enhanced P3 S model will launch this year, which will grant an even wider range of converters access to the key benefits others have already discovered with the P Series platform.
      Advancing technology comes in our Rotoflex line of offline finishing as well. From new features including RMS, a Report Management System, which collects all data related to the inspection and drive system and consolidates it for analysis and future planning, to biometric recognition, which allows users different levels of machine access based on their organizational role (operator, supervisor, maintenance), Rotoflex technology is focused on automation and production tools to enhance pressroom productivity.
     Digital printing continues to evolve, and Mark Andy is vigorously committed to building equipment that drives serious, measurable success for the converter. New digital platforms must be smart, flexible and most importantly, adaptable and expandable to navigate the rapidly changing label and packaging landscape. Mark Andy’s Digital Series delivers the needed integration of multiple technologies, seamlessly combining the best of digital inkjet printing and key value-added features. The Digital Series enables flexibility and custom solutions to meet the unique needs of the varying business models we see in our industry today. It is a logical equipment strategy that embraces the on-going needs of the converter.
     As Mark Andy looks to the future, it is our aim to ‘be the supplier of choice throughout the product life cycle, offering high quality, innovative solutions that drive customer profitability.’ We are working very hard to be a Total Solutions Partner.
     We look forward to seeing where we can help guide the industry next.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Staying On Trend


      by Greg Kishbaugh

     The ability of converters to anticipate trends in retail is key to their long-term success and survival. The demographics of consumers are rapidly changing and will heavily influence the ways in which converters and their CPG partners position their products and packaging.
     A new report from Packaged Facts called Food and Beverage Packaging Innovation in the U.S.: Consumer Perspectives,  concludes that changes in demographics, lifestyles and eating patterns are creating new opportunities for food and beverage packaging.
     According to the report, changing population distribution, fewer married couples, more people living alone, smaller household size and multi-generational households are all demographic mega-trends that will influence package development.

     The report focuses on five key trends currently shaping food and beverage packaging.
     Targeting Millennials. Despite representing a wide range of consumers, Millennials definitely share in some important traits. One is that they are much more environmentally conscious than past generations and these beliefs are demonstrated in the brands they support and the packaging they buy. Additionally, Millennials prefer fresher, less processed foods and they spend much more time on the perimeter of grocery stores where the fresh and non-packaged foods are found.
     Smaller Packages. One- or two-person households now represent more than 60 percent of U.S. households, so packaging sizes that serve smaller portions are trending. Single-serve and resealable packaging are being spurred on by this demographic shift.
     Convenient Packaging. Food and beverage packaging relies heavily on convenience as a major selling point. Ease of opening, resealability, portability, lighter weight (which also plays into the sustainability issue) and no-mess dispensing are packaging benefits that drive consumer purchasing decisions.
     See-Through Packaging. Because consumers desire transparency concerning how food and beverages are produced, see-through packaging or packaging that contains see-through windows is rising in popularity.
     Eco-Friendly Packaging. Perhaps the biggest trend over the course of the past few years has been sustainability. And seeing as the younger generation just now entering the workforce demands it in ever-increasing ways, this is one trend that is key to future viability for CPGs and converters. The report speculates that recyclability and sustainability will become even more important in the single-cup brew market, which is facing backlash as has the single-serve bottled water market.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Trending Upward


       Paul Teachout
       Vice President of Sales and Marketing

     Nilpeter is the leading supplier of innovative equipment and solutions to the global label and packaging market. Founded in 1919 in Denmark, Nilpeter remains a family-owned business. Nilpeter specializes in a combination of offset, flexo, gravure, screen foiling and digital printing all inline. With manufacturing facilities in Denmark, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, and India, Nilpeter offers sales and customer care services on a global scale. With innovative technology, creative solutions and excellent customer support, we strive to be the most attractive business partner and supplier of printing presses in the global narrow web market for self-adhesive labels and flexible packaging.
As we endeavor into the next century, our innovation will continue to lead us through new packaging trends and converter requirements. Nilpeter continues to look forward and stay close to our converter partners to determine what their needs will be five years from now and offer the most sophisticated and technologically advanced offerings that create converter growth and opportunities.
     Disruptive technologies will continue to influence packaging design and printing trends. We must embrace these technologies and manage them into our machine designs and production workflows. Nilpeter’s new developments in machine design will embrace the new generation of machine operators and converter needs. With the majority of our workforce being generation X, we must appeal to the millenniums and Gen Z to maintain a fluid and balanced workforce. Presses with the fastest change overs and minimal waste are to be expected, future machine innovations need to be clean hand technology for a generation who has been raised on disruptive technologies. CPG and retail trends are indicating more and more smart and interactive packaging designs. Smart packaging requires smart presses that appeal to a younger generation of machine operators. E-tail and retail packaging trends will continue to influence new packaging design. The sooner we prepare for these trends the sooner converters will capitalize on CPG compliance concerns, workforce stability and capturing new market opportunities. As CPG companies continue to look for converters who are embracing these emerging trends, as well as sustainability compliance requirements, these new innovations will provide the solutions our partners need to advance into the next generation of packaging design and production.
     These trends come at a good time; with the current economic climate there is no better time to invest in the future. Unemployment is down, stocks are up and the GDP hit a record high last year of 4.6%. These key indicators all drive e-tail and retail consumer spending and packaging requirements. The EU economy remains sluggish and all trends indicate that the third and fourth quarter and into 2016 will show continued growth in the U.S. economy. All these indicators have shown a renewed interest in all Nilpeter offerings and have now brought great opportunity for investing in the highest levels of machine automation, innovation and new packaging design and production. The state of the union is strong, alive and well!
     Nilpeter is very proud to continue to lead our partners into this new century with the most sophisticated and innovative packaging solutions available in the market. We look forward to the next hundred years of global stability and growth for our team and more importantly for our partners.

Friday, October 9, 2015

What's In A Name


      by Greg Kishbaugh

     Packaging markets continue to evolve and shift as do the ways in which consumers interact with the packaging of their favorite brands. One major change that CPGs and converters are beginning to address in a much more aggressive manner is consumers’ increasing demand for a more personalized approach to packaging. Consumers, particularly millennials, enjoy a much more customized experience. Companies that tap into this need benefit from millennials’ enthusiasm for spreading pleasant consumer interactions through social media.
     Because younger generations embrace individuality, the increasing use of personalized packaging speaks to them in ways that traditional packaging does not. “It makes people feel like the brand is more about them than about the brand,” said Brian Rafferty, Global Director of Research Insights for branding firm Siegel+Gale.
     Coca-Cola’s ubiquitous “Share a Coke” campaign, which featured more than 1,000 popular names on bottles, was a huge success for the company. After a decades-long slide in sales, Coca-Cola saw a 2.5 percent increase in sales, with the campaign generating more than 1.14 billion impressions across social media!

 Other major CPGs have recently announced attempts to tap into this same packaging trend. Bud Light is introducing cans designed for each individual NFL team and Snickers is rolling out packaging that replaces the candy bars name with terms such as “Cranky” and “Sleepy” in the brand’s same recognizable logo.
     The Admap Prize, which annually encourages and rewards excellence in strategic thinking in brand communications, is acknowledging this powerful new trend with its 2016 competition. The company is offering a $5,000 cash prize to the best essay addressing the subject, “How should marketing adapt to the era of personalization.”
     Clearly this is a trend that will gain steam in coming years, opening up a host of challenges — and opportunities — for converters.