Pack Expo Connects 2020 – Key Takeaways from GPI

In the year that COVID-19 ground packaging industry events to a halt, organizers across the globe made the call whether to take their events virtual. Pack Expo did just that, reimagining its in-person event as Pack Expo Connects, a virtual solution for the 700+ exhibitors and 18,000 attendees that would usually attend the physical show.

The event promised to bring the industry together, connecting exhibitors and delegates through inspiring content, live chats and product demos. Our Graphic Packaging International (Graphic Packaging) team offers three key takeaways from this year’s technologically ambitious event.

  1. Virtual insanity? Or a fitting showcase for paper-based innovation? 

The number one goal of this year’s event was to connect the industry, according to Jim Pittas President and CEO, PMMI. And despite a few technical glitches on day one, the event did just that, with exhibitor initiatives driving engagement.

The Graphic Packaging team was very grateful for the opportunity to connect, with so many networking opportunities falling foul of the pandemic. Two distinct positives came out of the virtually managed experience for the Graphic Packaging team. First, targeted webinar attendance was planned ahead of time. Second, a new way of collecting booth engagement data, measured with clicks, was extremely valuable.

Graphic Packaging’s director of marketing and beverage NPD, Roxanne McSpadden, found the event to be insightful and the strong showing of fiber-based solutions inspiring. You can read more about her thoughts on Pack Expo Connects and the paper-based packaging innovation on display in a recent Packaging Insights article.

  1. Was packaging sustainability still a key consideration?

Yes! Despite the need for suppliers to respond reactively to the pandemic in recent months, the strong showing of fiber-based innovation highlighted that sustainability is still at the forefront of the packaging industry’s agenda.

Plastic replacement is a hot topic for brands and the buzz around hybrid food packaging solutions reflects the great strides they’re making on the journey to heavily reducing the amount of plastic in applications where it is unavoidable in protecting and preserving the product effectively.

PaperSeal™ tray, Graphic Packaging’s fiber-based replacement for high-barrier plastic trays for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and vacuum skin packaging (VSP) was showcased in a demo by Graphic Packaging business development director, Jeff Voyzey. The presentation is available to view until March 31, 2021. You can also read more about PaperSeal tray, including its vastly increased billboarding space, in Packaging World.

  1. Is the future of packaging events digital?

Of course, the newfound lead generation gems generated by Pack Expo Connects couldn’t quite make up for the of-the-moment finds and true-to-life machinery demos that come with traditional trade show territory. However, the huge amount of useful and inspiring content generated during the five days is available online until the end of March, allowing attendees to scour the material to their heart’s content.

McSpadden suggests the future of events could actually become a hybrid solution that combines the best of physical and virtual elements, giving those that can attend first-hand insight and those that can’t the benefit of online content access for a later date.

So, if you’ve been putting off attending those virtual events, why not ease yourself in gently by heading over to Packaging Expo Connects and checking out the information on offer.

For more information on Graphic Packaging solutions, or to discuss your latest project, contact us for more information.