With a 20-percent increase in attendance over last year, more than 500 of the world’s leading packaging influencers gathered at the Westin Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 12-13, to participate in the Global Pouch Forum, a conference and networking event devoted to pouch formats in packaging. Attendees included packaging executives and engineers from many big brand CPG manufacturers such as Campbell Soup, Clorox, Dow Chemical, Kellogg Company and PepsiCo. They were joined by the industry’s leading suppliers of pouch machinery, materials and services.
The forum’s keynote speech was delivered by Michael Okoroafor, vice president of global packaging innovation and execution for H.J. Heinz. Mr. Okoroafor shared his company’s experiences with new flexible packaging formats, including the innovative stand up pouch for ketchup. Heinz, like many brands, is moving toward more flexible packaging to replace rigid containers that are not environmentally renewable.
Gary Hughes, director of global packaging for Muller Martini, was also on hand to present information on short-run pouch-printing technology, an area of increasing interest as SKUs become more fragmented as product manufacturers seek to attract consumers craving choice and personalization. With the norm for printing in the pouch industry being flexographic or rotogravure-printing technology, Muller Martini’s hybrid VSOP offset printing press is a powerful complementary add-on because it can more efficiently produce multiple SKU work.
“As SKUs proliferate, the VSOP offset press makes sound business sense because it represents the lowest cost to change an image, which is typical when dealing with fractured SKUs and shorter runs,” explains Mr. Hughes. “Flexible packaging is not only environmentally sustainable, but with the VSOP it’s less expensive to manufacture. Combine those benefits with highly innovative designs, like eye-catching pouches that stand up on a shelf, and you’ve got a pretty unbeatable format in which to house your product.”
Currently, Muller Martini’s VSOP offset press has over 100 installations worldwide. Market research reports that stand up styles will lead pouch growth in the United States with the overall market projected to increase 5.1 percent to $8.8 billion. With the VSOP’s ability to cost-effectively enable competitive SKU production, it represents a welcomed solution for brand managers looking to save the planet, while satisfying their customers—and budgets.