2 Packaging Trends That Are Defining 2022

Can you think of any packaging-related application or function that isn’t focused on sustainability or automation?

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

July 6, 2022

8 Min Read
Images courtesy of Canva

As a veteran packaging journalist, it’s rare for me to be on the other side of the microphone — that is, answering questions instead of asking them.

But at this spring’s IME West event — which is owned and organized by Packaging Digest’s parent company Informa Markets and includes WestPack — Sarah Soliman with the IME West News Desk asked me about packaging trends and what’s exciting on the horizon. In this short conversation, I talk about two major trends that impact nearly every packaging professional one way or another: Sustainability and Automation.

I also explain a bit about what sets Packaging Digest apart in the industry. Take a listen or scroll through the transcript below.



Sarah Soliman, IME West News Desk
Hello, everyone. And welcome to the IME West News Desk. My name is Sarah Soliman and I am joined here today by Lisa Pierce. So, Lisa, I’m super excited to have you joining us. Why don’t you go ahead and  introduce yourself to our audience?


Lisa McTigue Pierce (guest)
Sure. It’s my pleasure. Thank you, Sarah. I am Lisa McTigue Pierce, the Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. On August 16 of 2022, just a couple short months from now, I will have been covering the packaging industry for 40 years — 40 years! And, I have to say, I have never been bored, not even a single day, because it is one of the most exciting and dynamic industries out there.

Sarah Soliman, IME West News Desk
Yeah. And that calls for a celebration. Do you plan on celebrating any special way for your 40 years?

Lisa McTigue Pierce (guest)
Yes. I am going to be taking a look back at some of what I’ve seen over the years. And I’m going to be telling people what I have … that has really blown me away over these last 40 years.

Sarah Soliman, IME West News Desk
I love that. I love that. OK. So give us a brief overview of Packaging Digest.

Lisa McTigue Pierce (guest)
Sure. Packaging Digest has been the Voice of the Packaging Community since 1963 — so that’s almost 60 years. It’s well-known and respected in North America. Packaging Digest’s goal is to help the packaging professionals in our community to have higher levels of creative thinking, and productivity, and profitability. We do this by delivering news, trends, best practices, and new technologies to packaging executives and engineers, designers and developers, helping them solve their day-to-day problems.

Our audience works in a variety of different markets, most notably in consumer goods like foods and beverages and personal care products, but also in healthcare — that’s a big area for us —pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and medical devices. We give them the information that they need to understand today’s challenges – and then solve them as effectively and as efficiently as possible.

Sarah Soliman, IME West News Desk
So what, in your opinion, makes Packaging Digest unique in this industry?

Lisa McTigue Pierce (guest)
Packaging Digest is unique in the market in a couple of ways.

So, the knowledge and experience of the staff is — I’m going to use the word — unmatched, with a combination of about 80 years of experience amongst us. And, obviously, we’ve seen a lot over those years, which helps direct our content. And knowing that we’re asking the right questions of the right people to get the insights that’s going to be the most helpful to the audience.

And another thing that makes Packaging Digest unique — you can tell I like talking about this topic — is how we also take this unprecedented level of experience to analyze what we’re seeing and identify not just the current trends, which is still helpful, but the emerging trends. Because the further out you look, the better prepared you can be.


We also take this unprecedented level of experience to analyze what we’re seeing and identify not just the current trends, which is still helpful, but the emerging trends. Because the further out you look, the better prepared you can be.

Of course, a lot of these ideas are coming from the experts we interview. People really really love when they are hearing from their peers. It’s kind of a “been there, done that” kind of sharing, and we do a lot of that in the content that we do.

And, if I can just … one more … a third way that Packaging Digest is differentiated is in both its breadth and its depth. Because we’re sharing so many ideas across different markets, our community gains the added bonus of taking a packaging solution from, let’s say the food industry, and applying it to their needs, which could even be in the pharmaceutical side. It’s this … what we call cross fertilization of ideas that is so powerful, especially since many packaging departments gravitate to proven ideas, even, or maybe especially, if they are proven through a dissimilar market.

Sarah Soliman, IME West News Desk
I love your passion for this industry. I can feel it oozing through your responses. That’s a beautiful thing. Of course, in your years of covering this industry, you’ve seen a lot of trends. Now, in 2022, what are two to three trends that you can share with us that you’re seeing currently?

Lisa McTigue Pierce (guest)
Our audience is challenged daily to solve the particular needs of protecting their product from point of manufacture all the way through to its final use, wherever that may be. But there are a couple of major trends that affect virtually everyone in packaging.

One of these is sustainability. And I have to start with sustainability because it’s embedded in virtually everything that’s happening in packaging today. From design of the packages, bottles, closures, flexible pouches, all the way through energy efficiency on the packaging line, the machines that put the product in the package. The good news is that there are so many advancements in so many areas of sustainability of packaging these days that, literally almost on a daily basis. And we’re able then to connect the brand owners with supplier-partners that can really make a difference and help them set themselves up to achieve those goals.

Another major trend that I would say is facing the packaging engineers in our audience is making sure they have the most efficient automation in their manufacturing facilities. They need to get the product into the best package they can and prepare it for shipment to its final destination. This is the secret sauce in manufacturing these days because packaging operations directly impact a product’s profitability — when done right.

Efficient automation in their manufacturing facilities … this is the secret sauce in manufacturing these days because packaging operations directly impact a product’s profitability — when done right.

Sarah Soliman, IME West News Desk
So there’s clearly a lot of moving parts within packaging right now. Lots to be excited about. But for you personally, what inspires or excites you most about the industry right now?

Lisa McTigue Pierce (guest)
One of the things that excites me about the packaging industry is, that despite all the really really cool things I’ve already seen over the course of several decades in doing this, all those advancements, it is nothing compared to what’s coming. Most people who work in the packaging industry are absolutely passionate about what they do. And they’re always looking to try to improve, whether that’s making a bottle easier to open or a filling line easier to changeover, easier to clean between products.

Despite all the really really cool things I’ve already seen over the course of several decades … it is nothing compared to what’s coming.

So, again, it’s just such a dynamic industry and the new ideas that are bubbling up — I can’t wait to cover them.

Sarah Soliman, IME West News Desk
Well, we can’t wait to see and read your coverage.

So, with that, what else should we know about Packaging Digest?

Lisa McTigue Pierce (guest)
There’s a couple other things about Packaging Digest packaging professionals should know. Our parent company is Informa. In addition to dozens and dozens of publications on the media side that they own — and these are serving markets as varied as manufacturing, like us, but then fashion and aviation and nutrition. But, in spite of all that, Informa is also the world’s largest exhibition company. Here in North America, Informa hosts several regional packaging events: WestPack, EastPack, a reinvigorated SouthPack, and the PackEx shows in Canada, which alternate between Montréal and Toronto every other year. Working together, our media and event staffs are able to monitor and analyze the needs of the packaging community so we can share workable solutions that help improve our audience’s bottom line.

Packaging Digest has got some exciting plans for 2022 and beyond, as we continue to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with the packaging professionals to help them succeed.

Sarah Soliman, IME West News Desk
Fantastic. I appreciate all the work that you do for the packaging industry and beyond. So, of course, if you want to read more from Lisa Pierce and some of the stories that she’s covered, and also celebrate her 40-year anniversary covering the packaging industry, make sure you check out Packaging Digest.

Thank you, Lisa.

Lisa McTigue Pierce (guest)
Thank you (Sarah). And thank you for your interest in Packaging Digest. What can we do for you?


About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

Sign up for the Packaging Digest News & Insights newsletter.

You May Also Like