Packaging experts point to what’s next

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Packaging Design on April 11, 2014

Get a glimpse into the future of packaging innovation by attending NextPack 2014. Dubbed the Summit on the Future of Packaging, the event is organized by the Southeastern Chapter of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) and will take place on April 24 from 1:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Centre in Atlanta, GA.

Although just a half-day conference, this event packs a powerful punch with four high-profile speakers, exhibits, networking and a presentation of the finalists and then winners of the 48-hour Repack student competition. Based on previous year’s history, IoPP expects about 350 people to attend, with packaging professionals coming from nearby Kimberly-Clark and The Coca-Cola Co., among many other end-user and supplier companies.

The first speaker, Dr. Michael Okoroafor, vp, global packaging R&D/innovation, H.J. Heinz Co., will talk about “Driving the Growth Agenda through Sustainable Packaging.” He will focus on holistic sustainability and explain how to leverage world-class strategic partnerships to drive packaging innovation and best practices.

Then Lisa McTigue Pierce (me!), executive editor, Packaging Digest, will show recent notable packaging innovations and how they align with key consumer trends. I’ll also point out two areas where I think packaging professionals should focus on next and why.

The third speaker is Stanley Hainsworth, chairman and chief creative officer of Tether, which is, according to the brand design company, a group of friends who are passionate about one thing: telling stories that matter.  Hainsworth will talk about the package as a person. “When a consumer picks up a package, it is the most immediate and personal moment of the brand journey. How can we make packaging that is personable, that calls out to a consumer, that welcomes them to start a relationship. One that starts with trial and, upon paying off the packaging promise, could develop into a lifelong relationship,” Hainsworth says.

The final speaker, Jan Schüler, business director Americas, Drink Works USA, will be talking about packaging trends and how his company detects and defines them by looking at the consumer, global/macro trends, general packaging requirements, the marketing mix and issues around sustainability.


Students are the future

In the 48-Hour Repack competition, packaging students across the country are asked to solve a specific packaging problem in 48 hours by designing, creating, printing and assembling an innovative package.

As explained by Andrea Morocoima from the packaging engineering program at Rutgers, “The competition challenges them to work under intense pressure, iron out differences in their team dynamic and use various engineering techniques.

“Given the options of redesigning a syrup, egg, coffee or bacon container, student teams had to reinvent a more user- and eco-friendly design and make a short film pitching the idea as an engineer would in a workplace setting.”

At NextPack 2014, students will be able to show their entries in the exhibits area. The top 10, as selected by the competition judges (I was a judge this year—more on that in a later article), will be featured in a PowerPoint presentation that will run during the breaks. The top three entries will also get to present their ideas on stage during the event.

For more information about NextPack 2014 and to register, click here.

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