Packaging Innovations sees “record-breaking” 2019 attendance

PACKAGING Innovations, Empack and Label&Print has reported a record-breaking attendance for 2019.

The exhibition, which recently took place across two days at Birmingham’s NEC, attracted 6,922 visitors, and 75% of exhibitors are said to have already signed up for 2020.


Sustainability was at the top of the agenda for both exhibitors and speakers, with companies including Coca-Cola, Marks & Spencer, Iceland, Co-op and Greggs addressing the issue and reflecting on the progress brands have made in the last year.

Ian Schofield, own label & packaging manager at Iceland, spoke on the company’s pledge to remove plastics from its own brand packaging by 2023. He said, “We have been successful in finding alternative materials over the last twelve months and have developed plans to replace plastic across a vast range of products.

“However, with some of these materials costing between three and ten times more than their plastic counterparts, cost remains one of the biggest challenges in our mission to create plastic-free packaging.”

The headline feature of the seminar programme was the Big Plastics Debate, which debuted last year. On day one a panel of experts debated ‘plastic will always be fundamental to our everyday lives’.

Speaking for the motion, Barry Turner, plastic and flexible packaging group director at British Plastics Federation commented, “The real issue is how we behave with plastic. Consistent collection and an aided circular economy will ensure that we are using this resource responsibly. We have to cherish plastic and put it back to work.”

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, spoke against the motion. She said, “91% of plastic ever made has never been recycled. All the noise and concern over recycling has made no difference to the acceleration of plastic production. When our children have children, they will be dealing with triple the amount of plastic on the planet. Something needs to change.”

A Plastic Planet also hosted a new addition for 2019, the Plastic Free Aisle, which showcased supermarket shelves stocked with the latest innovations in plastic-free packaging.

A number of products were launched at the event including Charpak’s new 100% recyclable Twist-Loc plastic tub with integrated twist-and-lock mechanism; Marpac unveiled its new Breakdown PET material; and Ampacet showcased its REC-NIR-BLACK masterbatch solutions for automated sorting of black plastic at recycling centres.

Paul Smith, managing director at Charpak said, “The show this year has been an overwhelming success for us. Launching a new product and sponsoring the Ecopack Stage has given us a great opportunity to join the conversation on plastics. With more leads this year than ever before, we have had our busiest show to date and have already booked our space for next year.”

James Drake-Brockman, divisional director of Easyfair’s packaging portfolio concluded, “Packaging Innovations (including Contract Pack and Ecopack), Label&Print, Empack and Industrial Pack has been an overwhelming success this year and I would like to thank everyone who has supported the show.

“With sustainability remaining a key challenge for the packaging community, it has been particularly exciting to see the industry coming together to move the conversation along and continue to strive for change. We can’t wait to continue this success as we look towards the London show in September.”