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The following guest blog is by Paul Jenkins. Paul is Managing Director of ThePackHub, and will be guest speaker at our next Food Business Breakfast on 15 November. If you would like to join us at the Breakfast, full details and free registration can be found here.
It is fair to say that this year has been like no other for the UK packaging industry. There has been a sea-change in public opinion about packaging that is forcing us all to revaluate our relationship with the ubiquitous and often essential technology that ensures our products are protected, promoted and safe.
It all started with David Attenborough’s excellent Blue Planet programme that highlighted the amount of plastic that is entering our oceans. The outcry from that series was tremendous. It precipitated a chain of events with lobby groups being formed, government policy announcements, plastic-free aisles and a long line of leading brands, retailers and suppliers changing their strategies to ensure that they deployed more sustainable packaging. Recycling is firmly back on the agenda, as well as reusable packaging as a viable alternative to single-use. Compostability and even edible solutions are now being given a lot of air time as potential solutions to this serious problem.
All this has an impact on the type of packaging innovations that are now coming to market. ThePackHub manages an innovation database with nearly 2,700 entries called the Innovation Zone. Over half of the innovations collated this year are of a sustainable nature. This is unprecedented. We need to be careful of “greenwashing”, and ensure that the sustainable innovations now coming to market do indeed help the environment and not just make a brand or retailer look good on social media.
I will be discussing some of these food and drink industry sector issues and more at the Roythornes Food Business Breakfast on 15 November. Packaging is an exciting and vibrant industry and I think there will be quite a lot to discuss on the day!