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The Role of Packaging in Society

The Role of Packaging in Society. Dick Searle Chief Executive The Packaging Federation. The “Inconvenient Truths” of Packaging. Packaging only exists because products exist First & foremost it’s a Delivery System for Products Its Primary Role is to contain, protect and preserve

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The Role of Packaging in Society

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  1. The Role of Packaging in Society Dick Searle Chief Executive The Packaging Federation

  2. The “Inconvenient Truths” of Packaging • Packaging only exists because products exist • First & foremost it’s a Delivery System for Products • Its Primary Role is to contain, protect and preserve • But it’s also a Primary Mechanism for Branding • It’s very visible but little understood by consumers • But its environmental impact is much, much less than that of the damage that would arise without it • And…Modern Society couldn’t function without it!!

  3. ‘So why is there so much Packaging?’ • Examine the evolution of society • And the way that shopping has developed • See how Packaging has changed • Where are we today? • And what about ‘Excessive Packaging’?

  4. What did most households not have in the 50’s: The way things were… • Car • Phone • Bath • Central heating • TV • Washing machine • Fridge • Freezer • Dishwasher • DVD Players • Computers • Internet • Mobile phones • AND…!!!!!!

  5. What did most households not have in the 50’s: The way things were… • MICROWAVE OVENS !!!!

  6. The way things were (2)… And society was different too: • Mostly two parent households • Divorce was rare • Few ‘working mothers’ • Pace of life was much slower • Meal times (eating together) was the norm • Disposable income was low

  7. And now… • For most all the noes have become yeses • Pace of life dramatically higher and still accelerating • Working households are the norm • 32% single person households • Eating ‘on the run’ • Less cooking, more prepared foods • Much more “city living”

  8. So what about shopping habits… In the 50’s… • Shopping was a daily exercise – no fridges! • Grocers shops (Liptons, Maypole, H&C) • No supermarkets • Most products sold loose – queues/hygiene • Home deliveries of milk, bread…even ‘pop’ • Range was limited and fresh food seasonal • Convenience foods almost unheard of

  9. Then…

  10. Then…

  11. …and now

  12. So what about shopping habits (2)… And now… • Consumption has increased dramatically • Supermarkets are everywhere • Shopping is mostly a weekly excursion • Range and choice are huge • Products available all year round • Convenience is ‘everything’ • And it’s this consumer demand for goods that drives demand for the packaging around it

  13. So what about packaging’s role in this? • Packaging is the ‘enabler’ for shopping as we know it today – supermarkets could not exist without it • Product wastage in the supply chain is now minimal • Product presentation and information are key • Brands are mostly defined by their Packaging • Many markets owe their existence to developments in packaging

  14. All of these developed since the 50’s • Lightweight one-trip glass bottles • Easy-open beverage cans • Plastic bottles and tubes • PET bottles • Flexible packaging sachets and pouches • Plastic films • Child resistant packaging • Liquid packaging cartons • Aseptic packaging

  15. And these!... • Ovenable packaging • Modified atmosphere packaging • Frozen food packaging • Microwaveable packaging • Chilled food packaging • Aerosols for toiletries & household products • Aerosols for food and more • Multiple packaging – board and plastics • Shelf ready packaging • And so on…

  16. So what has the Packaging Industry done? • Developed a fantastic range of new products • Enabled a huge change in the way we shop • Facilitated the reduction in food waste in the supply chain to ca. 3% • Lightweighted packaging across the board • Achieved the decoupling of GDP growth from the increase in packaging used • Given consumers product protection, hygiene, convenience and pack information • Provided the platform for product branding and identification

  17. So where are we now? Demands of the product Demands of: Consumer Retailer Marketer Demands of: Production Distribution Storage Secondary packaging Primary packaging PRODUCT Demands of legislation and ‘environment’

  18. Some of the issues that we face • Allegations of ‘excess packaging’ • Ambivalent consumer attitudes • Limited ‘recognition’ by the supply chain • The Courtauld Commitment • The packaging waste ‘problem’ • The carbon footprint debate

  19. Let’s look at ‘excess’ packaging Some of the more commonly quoted examples: • Easter eggs • Cosmetics and perfumery packaging • Point of sale packaging, e.g. pens • Software • Memory chips • Fruit and vegetables in plastic

  20. Easter eggs…who needs them?

  21. Give them a bar of chocolate instead !!

  22. And now Easter eggs for the dog!

  23. Cosmetics andperfumery

  24. But of course you could try this..!!

  25. Point of sale packaging

  26. Software and memory chips

  27. Fruit and vegetables in plastic

  28. Excess packaging… in summary • Like beauty…is in the eye of the beholder • And of course there are examples • But often part of the product offering/image • Or part of the retail methodology • Comes down to consumer choice • But remember the Essential Requirement Regulations – only enforced (currently) in three EU countries…including the UK!

  29. Consumer Attitudes • Packaging responds to the needs of modern lifestyles and consumer demand – 24/7 • Consumer concern about the environment is real but is it well informed? • Are the messages right? – packaging vs global warming • Should all packaging be recyclable? • Do they understand that packaging is “only” the delivery system for the products that they demand? • Do consumers really want a return to the shopping regimes of yesteryear? • And what about what they say……as opposed to what they actually do! • And what about food waste in the home

  30. Consumer “Education”….and ours! • Knowledge of the real facts about packaging is very limited • “Recycling more important than reduced car use” • Whole supply chain needs to do much more….starting with their own employees! • “Packaging in Perspective” • www.packagingfedn.co.uk/factsheets.html • Tell your friends

  31. The Messages from Government • Totemic issues • Consumers’ carbon “footprint” – 40%! • What are the real issues? • Time for honesty? • Remember…..household food waste has at least 15 times more environmental impact than packaging waste

  32. And some “reminders” from us • Packaging is <3% of landfill • Global carbon footprint of packaging including disposal is probably <2% • And what would the footprint be without it! • There’s ten times more energy & materials in products than in the packaging around them • The energy content of one day’s packaging is equal to ONE MILE driven in the car !! • AVOIDABLE food waste in the bin has some FIFTEEN times the impact of packaging waste

  33. Packaging waste in perspective • <3% of landfill and18% of household waste • But very visible • Huge progress in last few years – ca.60% now recycled • Good recycling needs a better waste stream • Further progress requires ‘joined-up thinking’ • The waste hierarchy must use ‘real science’ • Energy from waste must be taken seriously – particularly with insecurity of energy supply

  34. And so… in summary • Packaging has made a huge contribution to life as we know it and, as an industry, we are proud of that • We have proved our innovation abilities time after time • And we’ll keep working to minimise the environmental impact of our products • We are first and last a service industry and we are ready and able to respond to changes in society’s needs • BUT…is society prepared to make the changes and pay the price – in all senses of the word?

  35. And so….. In Conclusion • Modern demand needs modern packaging • Without it we’re back to the 50’s – with no supermarkets, restricted choice and vast increases in wastage • Life is about choices………. • Packaging as Saint or Sinner like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But, as a major contributor to the way in which society functions, it’s difficult to see many products which have made a more significant change to consumer lifestyles!!


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