This week, we bring you our packaging market special report, highlighting some of the most notable changes in the industry, including new applications for bioresins, the importance of design, the necessity of branding, and a focus on other trends that experts believe will change the sector.
The market is experiencing global shifts that are birthing an entirely new generation of consumers. Take, for instance, the emerging middle classes of China, India and Mexico. The world is being challenged by new health threats like bird flu and fresh packaging solutions can help assuage consumers' fears.
Banking on bioresins
We've covered a good deal of news about bioresins, especially during the past months, and we will be doing more reporting on this topic in the future, for certain. Retailers are asking about it. I spoke with executives at the recent Packaging Strategies conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., who are investigating the use of these resins in various applications, including cosmetics packaging. One official from a paperboard manufacturer works closely with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. That paperboard firm is making a move into using polylactide.
The movement toward organic produce and other foods is behind the push, too, as grocery store chains focus on opening their own branches such as Publix GreenWise Market. Stores like Whole Foods Market illustrate the same trend, touting their commitment to green living on Web sites and in marketing literature.
Taking a central approach
In this issue, you'll find a story about the Center for Food Distribution and Retailing at the University of Florida that captures another trend: executives from all parts of the packaging supply chain working together. The center brings together manufacturers, professors, designers and officials from the biggest food retailers. Certain firms have formed their own design centers, like Georgia-Pacific Corp. or Consolidated Container Co. LLC, both based in Atlanta. One consulting firm I spoke with is looking into creating its own center in conjunction with a university. It may not be an entirely new idea, but it's gaining greater momentum as the packaging industry mobilizes to get the best ideas into the marketplace.
Decade of design
Every company must find its way to stand out among global competitors. Experts refer to the latest examples: the branding of the Heavenly Bed by Westin; and how Starbucks has redefined coffee. If Westin can brand a bed and Starbucks can make coffee beans sexy, what can you do with your company's product?
It's exciting. It's demanding. It's necessary for the evolution of the industry.
``I don't know what your story will be, but if you don't find a way to talk about innovation, it's distinct or extinct,'' said author and editor Julie Anixter, who was a featured speaker at Packaging Strategies.
Have you branded your company and your product?
The rate of change in packaging is mind-altering. The world has set its pace. What are you doing to keep up?
Angie DeRosa is a Plastics News staff reporter based in Oklahoma City.