Marketing and sustainability, traceability, consumer and trade acceptance, innovative solutions, logistics, protection and functionality, hygiene and law. Among other things, these are the topics that experts from all value-added stages would like to tackle at today's European Packaging Forum in Düsseldorf.
FreshPlaza was on site and asked the visitors from near and far to their expectations for the event at yesterday's get-together. In general, visitors hope for ideas and approaches for dealing with consumers' desire for more sustainable alternatives.
Dr. Melanie Kröger (University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde) & Elke Jahn (Interseroh Pool System)
"In Germany and Europe, unfortunately, there is very little initiative in terms of new packaging and alternative material attempts. There are problems with the output but people are waiting for an external solution, instead of tackling this subject at this time," said one visitor to the event,
Controversy & need for discussion
Elke Jahn from Interseroh Pool-System is happy to learn more about any new trends and certainly hopes there will be new impulses in the near future: "There is a lot of controversy in the packaging industry and there is also a need for more discussions on the subject."
Colleague Friedhelm Wagner comments: "The trend curving towards much less packaging and forms of alternative packaging, but nobody is really sure how to tackle it. Solutions are often thrown about in board rooms that sound really good, but in the end they are shown not to be sustainable in the long term. We are all there and are hope for good ideas."
Andreas Görlich (Alfons Haaf Polyäthylen-Werk GmbH)
Wood as a sustainable alternative
However, there already is a possible positive approach: "Consumers are discovering old varieties for themselves. Classic autumn and winter vegetables are a big hit at this time, so why would that not be possible for packaging as well? We can see wood as a viable alternative."
Uwe Groll, from Grow e.V., the association for eco-friendly wood packaging, agrees with this approach: "The industry is desperately looking for new, renewable raw materials that can be processed into packaging. Wooden crates are well-tried and really natural." To remind the industry of this, he was one of the speakers at the event.
Friedhelm Wagner (Interseroh Pool-System), Uwe Groll (Grow eV), Markus Nöthen (Redpack Maschinen)
An example is, among others, the French company Prince de Bretagne, which has been supplying its cauliflower in their typical wooden crates since time immemorial. "Regional goods in French boxes; these are a match among each other, and at the same time the box can be made to acts as a business card for the company," say the experts.
Alexander Hartel (Gemüsering), Veronika Pavcovich (Terra GmbH), Dimitri Wagner (Edeka Südwest)
Andreas Görlich from Alfons Haaf Polyäthylen-Werk GmbH hopes for ideas on where to go in the long term: "There are no clear guidelines and there is a great deal of uncertainty among packers, in food retailing and among consumers as well. There is no one who has a solution - and there is certainly no global solution." In the medium term, he thinks the future lies in better education about the benefits of plastic and the right means of recycling.