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PMMI Corner
Future Forecasts

A glimpse into tomorrow’s packaging

January 22, 2014
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Charles yuskaAccording to the September U.S. Industrial Outlook from the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), manufacturing production is expected to increase 3.2% in 2014 despite the currently sluggish economy. PMMI brings consumer packaged goods manufacturers (CPGs) and technology suppliers together to address challenges and shape tomorrow’s industry — and here’s a bit of what we’ve learned about the trends we can expect to see over the next five years:

It’s Gen Y’s turn at bat. Consumers born between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s exhibit different buying habits than their predecessors, Gen X and the Baby Boomers. Gen Y consumers — a.k.a. “New Millennials” and “Echo Boomers” — were raised on the internet and cell phones, and as a group, they demonstrate a preference for social media and digital communication that has driven brands online to engage with them on a whole new level. As a result, packaging will continue to get smarter with RFID tags, QR codes and other technologies creating impact that stretches beyond the shelf.

“Lean” and “Green” will stay interwoven. Lean manufacturing and sustainability efforts complement each other by conserving resources for a robust and responsible bottom line. This approach is conducive to reducing expenses — a necessity in today’s economy that won’t be undone in the near future. But tighter resources also breed risk aversion, so expect to scrutinize proposals more closely and dive deeper into calculating your total cost of ownership on new purchases.

The rules will grow in number and complexity. CPGs expect the regulatory environment to pose more challenges — at the local, state and federal levels. In the short term, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and its evolving regulatory structure will elevate the intricacy of reporting for manufacturers of food and beverage products. These companies will continue to lean heavily on their suppliers for guidance and technologies to help ensure compliance and streamline product tracking up, down and all around the modern supply web. In the pharmaceutical industry, impending regulations to implement serialization and track and trace capabilities will continue to make an impact as well.

Did I mention that the supply chain will stretch across the globe? Packaging and processing operations must function within the global marketplace. Globalization will continue to usher in incredible opportunities for growth — and competition. Euromonitor International projects that by 2020, emerging nations will contribute to roughly 60% of world GDP and that by 2015, China will account for 25% of global retail packaging demand.

The key to success will still be cooperation. With a laundry list of demands from consumers, economic hurdles and an evolving regulatory environment, the worst thing a product manufacturer can do is close itself off to innovation and guidance. CPGs and suppliers will need to work even more closely. Open communication with OEMs, upgrades and retrofits to machinery — these will be critical to CPG success.


 PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a trade association representing over 600 packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through programs and events such as The PACK EXPO family of trade shows, packexpo.com, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events and educational programs. 

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