More than 130 participants from the packaging industry, consumer goods industry and retail sector came to Frankfurt am Main for the 2nd independent Packaging Congress, Packaging360°, on Thursday and Friday.
The event, organized by dfv Mediengruppe and FachPack at the Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, featured top-flight contributors. The opening speech by Environmental Award Winner Reinhard Schneider, Managing Partner of the “Frosch” and “Erdal” brands manufacturer Werner & Mertz, impressed the audience. Schneider said to the industry experts: “We prefer to be the pioneers rather than to patent innovations. This is because we are looking for comrades-in-arms”.
Sustainability was the central theme of the congress. Companies, especially from the retail and consumer goods industries, are currently repositioning themselves on this topic, explained Helmut Gahmann, Director of Corporate Communications + Public Affairs at Nestlé Germany. He went on to say that the change could be felt everywhere, and that in addition, new topics such as Nutri Score were emerging. Brand managers and packaging decision-makers from industry and commerce largely agreed that bans alone were not the solution. Reinhard Schneider asked whether the ban on plastic bags announced by Environment Minister Schulze was not more populist than expedient. Schneider’s view: “We have to create attractive markets for recycled materials if we want to close the cycles sustainably”.
Increasing demand for plastic packaging
Vera Fritsche from the VDMA – Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (Food and Packaging Machinery) had brought the latest figures to the Congress. In the food and beverage industry, packaging sales are expected to increase by 13 to 16 percent worldwide by 2023. 44 percent of the packaging produced worldwide goes to Asia, 25 percent to Europe. The VDMA is observing rising demand for plastic packaging in the food industry. In Western countries, this is increasingly replacing cans, she explained.
How bad and how good is plastic – hardly anyone talks about plastic any more anyway, as was stated at the Congress? This question also came up again and again. “You have five questions and get five answers,” joked Olaf Dechow, Senior Manager Corporate Responsibility at the Otto Group. The discussions during the breaks were also about plastics and the advantages and disadvantages of recyclates – the input for this was provided by Reinhard Schneider in the opening address. The participants also used the Congress to experience the mood in the industry and “to get a different view of the topics”, as one Congress participant said.
Representatives of the dfv Mediengruppe and FachPack announced the third Packaging Congress and additional industry meetings for 2020.
Further reports will follow.