The Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit was held in Chicago from July 7-8 and included over 30 conference sessions featuring a mix of CPG and packaging companies, as well as an expanded product showcase. The event’s dual track program highlighted marketing and branding strategies as well as production and engineering technical intelligence focused on packaging innovations and solutions for tomorrow’s consumer. Below are the key findings that the North America Euromonitor research team of Eric Penicka and Sean Kreidler observed.
Product innovation was a core theme of the event. Consumer needs are more robust than they were just 10 years ago. Increasingly they are more willing to take risks and try new products. To succeed in the face of mounting competition, standing still is not an option. It is important to identify consumers’ struggles and packaging innovation offers a great opportunity to attend to them. Product reformulation is risky, coupons short-lived and SKU rationalization not necessarily noticed by consumers. Simple packaging redesign is the most obvious and visual way to facelift a product. Now more than ever technology advances have made prototyping more cost effective and easy, stimulating innovation. Also, it is important to think beyond traditional competitors when innovating. For example, Coca-Cola is not only competing with Pepsi for consumer attention, but it is also competing with yoga classes or pints of Ben and Jerry ice cream, that also offer stress release and comfort. Dutch Boy successfully revamped their packaging from metal cans to plastic tubs, fulfilling a need for consumers for greater ease of use. This trend caught on in food categories too and can be seen in Domino sugar, Folgers coffee and Similac powder milk formula.