Packagers are booking tickets, and exhibitors are putting the finishing touches on their plans for PACK EXPO 2009, to be held Oct. 5 to 7 in Las Vegas. PACK EXPO is North America's leading packaging tradeshow, and this year, it offers the industry a multitude of innovative solutions focusing on packaging performance, sustainability and economics to help companies take advantage of a nascent economic recovery in the U.S.
The search for innovative materials and equipment is a common theme for attending, among early show registrants. “As we approach PACK EXPO, our schedules are already booked tight,” says Jeffrey Schuch, packaging development engineer at Chiquita Brands Intl. “With several projects in the works, we are looking to meet with exhibitors and discuss what new innovative technologies are available that can meet our needs. That sentiment was echoed by Nelson Cavour, senior operations supervisor at Bumble Bee Foods, who says, “Innovations in sustainable machinery are our focus this year at PACK EXPO. We are looking for technologies that can help us reduce cost and waste and increase our savings.”
Brand Zone sells out
One area of emphasis at PACK EXPO is branding, and the role packaging plays in this important marketing function. The Packaging Machinery Mfr.'s Institute (PMMI), is launching The Brand Zone at the show, featuring packaging technologies that can help brand managers, marketers and package designers and engineers launch new products, refresh existing brands and improve sustainability scores. PMMI's Brand Zone has sold out, with 160 materials and container suppliers taking more than 45,000 net sq ft of space.
“Demand to exhibit in The Brand Zone exceeded our expectations—clearly the market is strongly focused on brand management and how packaging can grow sales, protect products and meet sustainability efforts,” notes Charles D. Yuska, president & CEO of PMMI. “Packaging innovation doesn't wait for recessions to end. The economic recovery plan for any consumer or industrial goods company begins at PACK EXPO Las Vegas, where they can find ways to improve productivity and address efficiency issues, and find new package formats that support their customers' needs.”
The Brand Zone will also offer access to business intelligence and other resources that can help attendees gain a competitive edge. “No medium is a more effective communicator for a brand than the package itself,” says Yuska. Exhibits will include innovative materials and containers that can increase visual impact, enhance convenience, maximize shelf life and add functionality.
“Innovation in materials and packaging structures is what brings me to PACK EXPO this year,” says Jennifer Sagert, packaging scientist at Hormel Foods. “As always, I look forward to finding the latest innovations in films, labels, cans and other materials and containers to help us achieve our goals. Visitors to The Brand Zone will also be inspired by award-winning package designs in The Showcase of Packaging Innovations™, sponsored by Dow Chemical Co. Packages nominated for the annual PACK EXPO Selects™ program, can also be seen in the pavilion.
Grocery initiative launches
In late August, PMMI announced that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) will launch its new initiative, “GMA Upstream,” during this year's PACK EXPO. GMA Upstream will focus on achieving new levels of manufacturing and engineering excellence within the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and packaging solutions industries. GMA represents leading food, beverage and consumer products companies, helping its members improve product safety, demonstrate corporate responsibility and help to drive customer and channel collaboration that can cut costs out of the supply chain.
“GMA member companies develop and market some of the leading brands that drive consumer sales around the globe, and are long time PACK EXPO attendees,” notes Yuska. The initiative is intended to identify and understand the needs of consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturing, engineering and product development managers; recognize potential solution providers; and deliver programs and services that help the GMA members to produce innovative products.
Several groups have decided to co-locate their shows or meetings with PACK EXPO, including PROCESS EXPO and CPP EXPO. PROCESS EXPO features the newest developments in food-processing technology; supplies and services in fruit and vegetable processing, meat, poultry and seafood processing, confectionery and snack processing as well as bakery and beverage processing technologies. PROCESS EXPO is sponsored by the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA).
CPP EXPO (Converting & Package Printing) reflects the market synergies of the package printing, converting, finishing machinery and supplies industries. Also, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) will hold its 2009 convention and tabletop tradeshow in conjunction with PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2009. The IBWA 2009 show will take place Oct. 5 to 9. Attendees will receive complimentary admission to PACK EXPO Las Vegas exhibits.
In addition, the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC) will hold its 2009 Annual Meeting and 14th International Package Design Competition in conjunction with PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2009.
Bringing packaging to life
Complementing the action on the show floor is the event's extensive conference program. The Conference at PACK EXPO is a rich and varied series of presentations that brings attendees the latest concepts and innovations from top professionals. This year, the theme for the conference is “Maximizing Performance, Sustainability & Economics. Among the highlights, the program will feature leading retailers who will offer their unique perspectives on the private-label sector, as well as more than 50 sessions by industry experts exploring an array of issues affecting today's packaging professionals.
Sessions are organized into several tracks including Branding, Converting, Digital Package Printing, Economics, Intelligent Coding, Legal Landscape, Materials, Processing, Sustainability, Sustainable Operations and Vision Systems. Each day's program features a keynote address at 10:00 a.m. For the remainder of each day's programming, the sessions run concurrently in four time slots, allowing attendees to take up to four sessions per day and keep their show commitments. The keynotes include:
Monday, Oct. 5,
Keynote: The Future of Retailer Packaging and Branding—The A&P Story
Speaker: Doug Palmer, vp, Our Own Brands, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.
Tuesday, Oct. 6,
Keynote: Packaging—A Holistic Approach to Winning
Speaker: Andrew Abraham, vp, Our Own Brands, Supervalu Inc.
Wednesday, Oct. 7
Keynote: Day One to Doors Open and Beyond—Tesco's Fresh & Easy Builds a Totally Branded Experience
Speakers: Steve Ryder, store design & planning director, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market; Kevin O'Donnell, founder, thread collaborative.
Discounted registration for the Conference at PACK EXPO is currently available at www.packexpo.com. Register for conference sessions before Sept. 15 for $55 per session. Fees go up to $75 per session for registrations received after Sept. 15 or onsite. Attendees must register for PACK EXPO before they can sign up for conference sessions. Program updates and abstracts for each presentation can be found on www.packagingdigest.com.