Industry-expert panellists shared their insights around latest packaging trends and technologies at the recent Propak Cape Connect ‘Opportunities in Packaging in the New Normal’ webinar.

To mark the week in which Propak Cape 2020 would have taken place had it not been postponed due to COVID-19, the webinar was open to all interested parties free-of-charge. It was aimed at bringing industry professionals together to discuss the latest trends, technologies and post-pandemic opportunities across the packaging industry.

Kishan Singh, CEO of MetPac–SA and World Packaging Organisation (WPO) Ambassador, gave insight into the challenging environment of the world of packaging. He spoke about legislation that requires producers and manufacturers to account for packaging they produce post-consumer; recovering material to be used in the circular economy. He emphasised the need to move away from ‘take, make, use, and throw’ as there is a finite amount of raw materials and materials already in circulation need to be reutilised.

Discussing the food and beverage sector where sustainable and high-performance packaging is imperative, Maryke Foulds, Editor of SA Food Review, explained how packaging should continue to aim towards carbon neutral production and distribution.

It needs to enable a resilient food system that is convenient and safe, fully recyclable and supports an effective recycling system. Consumers are also becoming increasingly savvy and want traceability and supply chain information coupled with ethical and sustainable sourcing when it comes to the food industry.

Trends for 2021 include how manufacturers will lean on technology to balance consumer demand with regulatory and quality standards; flexibility and the ability to do more with less; and the processing lines of the future must adapt to quickly change to different products and recipes without impacting the flow of the line from the processing to the final packaging stage.

COVID-19 has also had a significant impact on automation and remote handling of robotics. Manufacturers will be looking at replacing analogue devices with technology that will provide remote access to machine controls and shifting to cloud computing.

When it comes to cosmetics packaging, the trends reflect the clean beauty movement. Consumers today are more knowledgeable and check labels for product composition and ingredients. This has placed a greater emphasis on labelling and scanning barcode technologies such as QR codes.

Premium skincare brands are transitioning to post-consumer bioplastics and bio polyester for their primary packaging, which is often sourced from overseas. The good news for South Africa is the launch of a locally produced 70% biodegradable and 100% recyclable cosmetics packaging and this can really be a game-changer for the cosmetics and beauty brands. A push for more serialisation is a growing trend in the pharma industry to protect against pharmaceutical counterfeiting.

Interesting insights were given by Dikeledi Mosime, CEO of Tinpak, a leading manufacturer and supplier of tinware and decorative packaging. As a female entrepreneur in the packaging industry, she supplies some of the top brands in the country.

Her account of how she successfully built a business in a male-dominated sector, where long-term relationships were hard to contest, was inspiring for other female entrepreneurs wanting to get ahead in the industry. She overcame challenges and invested much time in building her credibility and becoming ISO and FSSC accredited.

Sven Smit, Portfolio Director for Propak Cape, has made the webinar available on the Propak Cape website, www.propakcape.co.za. Extensive information was shared during the discussion and those that missed the webinar or want to revisit it now have the opportunity to do so.

Propak Cape 2021 is taking place from 8-10 June 2021 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and will be celebrating its 21st year.