Folding carton packaging from Mercian Labels 

While the bigger trade shows are suffering the effects of the recession, easyFairs’ dedicated packaging shows continue to grow year on year. The latest edition at the NEC Birmingham in February continued this trend with an increase of 12% in visitor numbers. By Neel Madsen. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone wants to get into the growing market of packaging, and nowhere was that more obvious than at the Packaging Innovations show at the NEC on February 27 and 28, where 320 exhibitors catered for every packaging need under the sun. From cartons and corrugated to bottles and jars, from printing and finishing to design and decoration, this was the place to find your supplier and discuss your needs, and 5093 visitors came along to take take it all in.

New for this year was the Labelling Innovations part of the show, a complement to last year’s addition, Print Innovations. This will be followed next year by a converting section as the organisers are responding to the growth in this sector. Alison Church, event director at easyFairs UK Ltd, commented, ‘We couldn’t be more delighted with how the show went! The Print and Labelling Innovations sections of the event had a particular buzz about them, as this becomes more and more of a vital component in using the latest innovative approaches and ensuring speed to market whilst maintaining quality.

‘With 67% of exhibitors rebooking for next year’s show on site, we are in a great position to take the show to new heights in the coming year. We have exciting plans to develop and build on the print area of the show, as well as introduce a converting focus, plus we have an engaging new floor plan, and a new look in our branding.’ 

Speaking to several of the label printers exhibiting, it was clear that they were pleased with the quality of visitors, especially the many brand owners that were in attendance.

James Averdieck, founder of Gü Chocolate Puds, was one of the speakers at the inaugural Packaging Innovations Conference, which ran alongside the show. He talked about the importance of packaging in brand positioning and said, ‘Brands don’t come to life until the conception of packaging. The key ingredient is having a good product and making it look a million dollars. You make a promise with the brand/packaging, then the product inside has to live up to that promise.’

A new feature was the Big Print Debate, which drew a large crowd that came to see experts from the printing world debate the famous Benny Landa quote, ‘Everything that can become digital, will become digital …’

Brand owners were represented on the panel by Matt Daniels, global packaging capability leader, printing and decoration at Unilever, and Karen Graley, packaging and reprographics manager at Waitrose, both sharing their considerable knowledge of the packaging print industry in relation to what the big brands are demanding from its suppliers.

From the printing side came Will Parker from Reflex Labels, who spoke about why his company after many years as a flexo house has decided to invest in digital technology. It was the first company to sign up for a Landa nanographic printing press at drupa last year. Also on the panel was John Charnock, director, Print Research International, who spends his time helping businesses adapt to the ever changing world of print.




Read the full review in the April issue of Digital Labels & Packaging