The packaging industry is dead?

Author: Ellie McLoughlin

The packaging industry is dead?

This is what someone said to me in a recent conversation and it got me thinking. Is the Packaging Industry dead? To be honest, my answer… definitely not.

I have been working within the industry for over 3 years and have seen trends come and go and had to roll with the punches. Yes, at times I can get frustrated (usually when a client asks for someone with CGI experience) but in this industry things are always moving forward and changing and you have to be ready to meet the ever increasing demands of the client.

One big topic that everyone has been talking about whether you are in the packaging industry or not (if you haven’t heard about this, where have you been?) is using more sustainable and recyclable packaging.

So many companies and agencies are staying ahead of the game and offering plastic-free products. As consumers become more environmentally conscious and hold businesses and their packaging standards to account, the hope is that companies will be incentivised to produce and package more responsibly.

It’s amazing to be a part of an industry and see changes in how they manufacture and the materials they use. In particular the paper and board industry is one of the most sustainable production businesses today.

Supermarkets, brands and retailers have never been more under pressure to reduce plastic packaging than today and rightly so.

I have seen on Twitter that some customers are returning all of their unwanted plastic packaging to stores and are taking to social media to tell everyone about it. This gets everyone talking and taking accountability for the amount of plastic we use and the harm it causes.

The demand is higher than ever for cost effective fit for purpose plastic free food packaging, and here are just some ways that companies are doing this:

  • Swapping Plastic Food Wrappers for 100% Biodegradable Transparent Films
  • Swapping single use plastic carrier bags for compostable bags
  • Swap black plastic trays for plastic free cartoon boards
  • Swap plastic ready meal trays for dual oven usable carton board

As the year draws to an end and we creep into 2020, this “trend” is something we can definitely expect more from. The demand for recyclable materials in packaging will become higher than ever in 2020. Coca cola is a great example of adapting to this and has been encouraging their consumers to recycle its bottles.

So to come back to my original question, is the packaging industry dead? Absolutely not! I feel recyclable and corrugated packaging alone will dominate the sector but there are many exciting evolutions happening and I am excited to be a part of this industry. It has definitely made me more aware of what I can do to reduce my plastic usage.

Let me know what steps you have taken, I am interested to hear your thoughts.

Ellie is a highly experienced recruiter within the UK & European Creative market encompassing Branding, Packaging Graphics, Packaging Design, Pre-press, Retail Design, Creative and Digital. She predominantly works on Branding, Design and Technical and Production roles.