The Packaging 360° Summit is the industry meeting place for brand managers and packaging decision-makers from the branded goods industry and retail. On September 6 and 7, 2021, the congress took place at the Hilton in Frankfurt as a hybrid attendance event.
It was nice to be able to attend an event again: this was said by all participants who experienced the congress live on site. The congress and trade fair cancellations in the past year and a half due to the pandemic were topics at the networking event, which was experienced more consciously than it had been for a long time. Thematically, the presentations and discussion forums with renowned speakers focused on sustainability. Nadja Thorman, Manager Corporate Responsibility for Packaging & Environment at Aldi-Süd, made it clear: “There is no such thing as ‘the’ packaging solution.” For example, she said, customers loved paper packaging, but that often lead to a conflict of goals, such as between stacking efficiency and recyclability.
Sustainability megatrend – Packaging Summit 360° was all about sustainable packaging. At FACHPACK, the trade fair for packaging, technology and processes, in Nuremberg, environmentally friendly packaging is the leading topic.
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To save packaging weight, and that is Aldi’s clear goal, you had to look at all materials, Thorman said. Those calling for more recycled packaging, she said, should not ignore the fact that many a customer would not want a cloudy bottle as a container.
“Plastic is not bad per se”
Anja Köllner of the Schwarz Group, which includes Lidl, also stressed, “The issue is complex.” “Plastic is not bad per se,” said Köllner. As the person responsible for the REset Plastic project, she said, she wants to stick to the goal of packaging for private labels made from 100 percent recycled material. But one should not conceal the fact that labels and lids are not included in this calculation. The appeal to suppliers and consumers is: “We can’t do it alone. I’m using the old phrase: well separated is half recycled.” When asked, Köllner clarified, “The circular model must be the economic model of the future.”
Shortage of recyclate
Dr. Lorena Fricke from the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen and Konstantin Bark, Director Communications & Suistanable Business at Unilever Germany, also agreed with this thesis. They discussed Corona and supply chains with Matthias Mahr and Bernd Biehl (both Lebensmittel Zeitung). Recyclate is expensive and in short supply, Bark and Fricke reported. When will this market have recovered, Biehl asked. “If I knew, I wouldn’t be here,” Bark replied with a twinkle in his eye.
The fact that sustainability is playing a greater role in consumer behavior was made clear by Ev Bangemann of Ernst & Young, who presented a corresponding study. However, one third of non-wealthy citizens are not interested in the topic. Dr. Stephan Telschow, Managing Director and Head of POS Research Competence Center, GIM – Gesellschaft für innovative Marktforschung mbH, said that the Corona crisis was a driver for more sustainability. People have learned to do without.