Staged early October at the NEC, over 450 exhibitors and 2,500 brands showcased the latest innovations in smart manufacturing, processing equipment and packaging solutions.
“The programme was designed to be hard-hitting and provide visitors with her perspicacity into the latest developments in the sector through informative debate and thought-provoking presentations.
"The overwhelming response from visitors is that it did just that.” says David Harrison, chief operating officer of PPMA Group of Associations.
Packaging machines and flow wrappers specialist Ilapak was able to meet existing as well as prospective customers.
Chris Gee, sales manager, said the most significant request was recyclable films as well as automation to reduce costs.
Automated packing and palletisation machine manufacturer Brillopak focused on fresh produce packing.
David Jahn, director, said: “The obvious trend is whereby everyone two years ago was focusing on minimum wage and how to overcome this by reducing the workforce, meaning there was a need to automate. And now, with Brexit itself, there are less people and so there’s no choice. Automating is paramount.”
He added that another key request related to packaging alternatives, which are still ‘at least two to three times’ the price of conventional materials.
“So, the question is where will this cost increase go? Someone is going to have to take the hit – is it the consumer, the supermarket or the grower? That’s something we’ll find out in the months to come.”