Recently, the Flexible Packaging Association held its 2007 Fall Executive Conference in Chicago, Ill. Examining “Market Trends: Challenges and Opportunities.” The conference provided attendees with insight into key trends and issues affecting the flexible packaging industry including Global Packaging Legislation, Industry Consolidation, Sustainable Packaging, CPG’s Supply Chain Challenges, Trends in Adhesive Raw Materials and changing dynamics within the Polyolefins Market.

Highlights of the conference presentations follow below. Electronic copies of the 2007 FPA Fall Executive Conference presentations are available on www.flexpack.org.

Global Packaging Legislation

 Richard Pettifor, president of the North American Packaging Division, Sun Chemical Corp., discussed global packaging legislation that will affect the flexible packaging industry in the next one to two years and provided an overview of future legislation that could be potentially problematic to flexible packaging.

Richard examined global trends that may appear in North America and detailed packaging legislation that could affect flexible packaging exports. His presentation also included a discussion of the REACH regulatory system, packaging migration regulations and food safety.

Packaging M&A - Boom or Bust?

Will Frame, managing director of the Paper, Plastics and Packaging practice at Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance, discussed the drivers behind recent merger and acquisition, and consolidation activity within the packaging industry.

The presentation examined recent industry transactions, trends that are reshaping the packaging industry, and explored market fragmentation and its influence on industry consolidation.

Brand Owners & Retailers Sustainable Packaging Survey

Michael Richmond, Ph. D and Phil McKiernan of Packaging & Technology Integrated Solutions delivered the results of FPA’s Brand Owners & Retailers Survey. FPA commissioned PTIS to conduct the survey, which explored several key areas including the importance of sustainability and the impact sustainable packaging initiatives are having on brand owners and retailers.

Participants of the September 2007 survey included packaging, brand and sustainable packaging managers of consumer product goods manufacturers and retailers across nine major categories including food, health and beauty/personal care, pharmaceutical, general merchandise, retail, consumer electronics, pet care, clothing, and lawn and garden.

The presentation included a discussion of the Wal-Mart Sustainable Packaging Scorecard and its impact on packaging development, the role of trade associations in the sustainability discussion and top sustainable packaging opportunities for the flexible packaging industry. The full report detailing the results of the FPA’s Brand Owners and Retailers Survey will be published in early spring 2008.

FPA's Flexible Packaging Sustainability Education & Marketing Campaign

Stressing the importance of the flexible packaging industry to proactively promote and demonstrate the sustainable benefits of flexible packaging, Mark Kitzis, vice president of research at Alcan Packaging, previewed FPA’s Sustainability Education & Marketing Campaign.

Mark explained that the education and marketing campaign is a collaborative effort by FPA members to educate CPGs, retailers and packaging decision makers on the environmental features and benefits of flexible packaging. He noted that the campaign would also enhance flexible packaging opportunities in the marketplace and across the value chain.

Mark also detailed the supportive tools of the campaign including educational brochures, promotional Web and email banners, informative PowerPoint presentations, and in-depth flexible packaging case studies. Full launch of the FPA’s Flexible Packaging Sustainability Education & Marketing Campaign will begin in November 2007.

CPG's Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities

Pat Houston, a vice president in Booz Allen Hamilton’s Operations Practice, provided FEC attendees with an overview of current industry trends, their impact on the CPG supply chain, discussed perspectives on supply chain opportunities, and reviewed implications for flexible packaging companies.

His presentation also examined several themes for supply chain solutions, including:
• Tailored business streams
• Right at retail
• Enhanced customization
• Reduced end-to-end costs
• Enhanced security of supply
• Incorporation of green

Adhesives Raw Materials

Dan Murad, CEO and president of The ChemQuest Group, discussed the market dynamics of the U.S. adhesives industry and the impact they are having on the flexible packaging industry.

Dan detailed current trends occurring within the global adhesives market and historical growth trends within the United States' adhesives industry. He also examined the “highly volatile” raw material environment and discussed the future outlook for raw materials. 

Polyolefins: Here and Around the World

Nick Vafiadis, business director of the polyolefins for Chemical Market Associates, provided attendees with historical perspective and insight into the forecast of supply and demand dynamics, capacity, trade patterns, pricing relationships profitability, production cost and technology for the global and domestic polyolefins markets. Nick also shared CMAI’s energy forecast through 2011.