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Unpacking PACK EXPO International 2022

PackExpo 2022 - Flexible Packaging Film Industry

PennPac recently exhibited at PACK EXPO International 2022, the packaging and processing industry’s most comprehensive trade show. The event, produced by PMMI (The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies), took place October 23-26 in Chicago, IL and drew over 2,000 exhibitors and 40,000 attendees from over 40 industries. It was the first in-person show in 4 years.

This was the first time PennPac exhibited at PACK EXPO and it was a great experience all-around. We were represented by Rob Tiller, Managing Director; Alex Palmer, Director of Business Development; Eric Roth, Quality Assurance Manager; Heather Puskar, Director of Business and Customer Relations; and Halle Chandler, Marketing & Administrative Coordinator.

Rob and Heather from PennPac at the Pack Expo

Below are signifigant takeaways and observations that our team made note of.

Great Networking Experience

Trade shows offer the chance to network with industry partners, customers, and prospective customers – and PACK EXPO was no exception. The size and scope of this major PMMI show was impressive, with lots of exposure potential and the opportunity to grow and compete. To be among the thousands of organizations, large and small, was both educational and invigorating.

Top Flexible Packaging Industry Trends

There was a lot of buzz around several key industry topics:

Sustainability was a popular subject, with a focus on new available options in eco-friendly transparent packaging materials.

With the rising cost of transportation, there were discussions about the packaging of finished products and ensuring that customer orders arrive right and undamaged the first time, which helps limit costs associated with return shipping and re-shipping of corrected orders.

Another prominent trend promoted at the show was transparent packaging. These days, with many foods being displayed from the “inside out,” the need for transparent packaging solutions is on the rise.

Compact containers with vivid colors were another observed trend. With the days of oversized packaging to enhance product size behind us, the focus has shifted to maximizing consumer attraction in different ways, and the use of color is one of those ways. Smaller, compact container solutions also help to reduce transportation costs.

PackExpo 2022

Technology Innovations

New technologies were everywhere at PACK EXPO. With the push for extended shelf life in fresh produce packaging, and steam release for microwavable packaging and other applications, laser perforation was one topic of particular interest. While needle perforation is still used, many laser solutions were featured at the show. The retrofitting of laser machine centers on existing equipment is now a viable consideration for many suppliers.

Smart packaging technologies such as QR codes, data chips, and RFID-embedded packaging solutions were also on prominent display. The advancements made in connecting products to the digital world through intelligent packaging solutions were impressive.

Another notable topic was production speeds due to highly automated and complex packaging machinery. Machine throughput capabilities in recent years have increased exponentially thanks to the use of AI and robotics. Yes, artificial intelligence in the packaging industry is here! This drives the film industry to continue engineering high-performance substrates in order to keep up with the advances in equipment.

Forming and non-forming barrier films were also big areas of interest for many people we spoke with throughout the week, as well as the increased need for competitive and consistent pricing with short lead times. Costs and turnaround times will continue to be the top challenges that converters and end-users face in this current economic climate.

“I believe the brand awareness initiated at PACK EXPO 2022 clearly portrayed that PennPac is front and center going into the next decade, and beyond. We’ll continue to introduce new product lines and capabilities to fulfill our vision. A special thanks to the entire PennPac production and warehouse staff for their continued support and dedication to help make this year’s exhibit debut possible!”

Rob Tiller
PennPac Managing Director

Looking Ahead

PennPac is already excited to see what PACK EXPO 2023 has in store! We’ll be exhibiting next year in Las Vegas and we look to return to Chicago for the 2024 show.

Look for us as well at other upcoming shows including Pack Expo East, Converter Expo, and more.

If you missed this year’s PACK EXPO, there’s still time to register for access to PACK EXPO Xpress, an online portal featuring lots of show content including virtual exhibitor showrooms and educational sessions. Content is available through November 30th.

Event photos courtesy of PACK EXPO.