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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 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 • 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!!
‘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’?
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…!!!!!!
What did most households not have in the 50’s: The way things were… • MICROWAVE OVENS !!!!
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
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”
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
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
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
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
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…
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
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’
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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!!
And so…… • ISN’T IT ABOUT TIME THAT MUCH BIGGER ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES RECEIVED A LOT MORE ATTENTION THAN PACKAGING DOES ?? • BUT THERE’S NO VOTES IN TELLING PEOPLE TO DRIVE LESS, FLY LESS, USE LESS ENERGY IN THE HOME……AND STOP EATING MEAT • SO, FOR US, WE’LL KEEP TELLING IT AS IT REALLY IS…!!