Paris Packaging Week: Sustainability, Legislation, and Agility – The Driving Forces for 2024’s Personal Care and Beauty Packaging Markets

Beauty packaging

Last month, our Beauty team took to the packed halls of Paris Packaging Week at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, exhibiting our latest paperboard consumer packaging innovations for the personal care and beauty sectors. And what a show it was!

With over 14,000 visitors representing 3,000 brands and design agencies, it was clear that we were in for a busy two days. The attendance was over 10% up on 2023 and packaging professionals from international brands from LVMH, L’Oréal and Chanel to Gucci, P&G and Estée Lauder were walking the show looking for solutions to their packaging challenges.

Sustainability, sustainability, sustainability

It’s clear that sustainability is no longer a ‘nice to have’ in the personal care and beauty sectors; there was an active focus on reducing packaging’s environmental impact from all the visitors to our booth. The mood was very much about doing better, continuous improvement, and not settling for ticking boxes on the environmental agenda across the affordable to the luxury end of the industry spectrum. Brands were seeking new packaging solutions that would delight consumers, while achieving ESG objectives.

Indeed, the industry needs it all – renewable raw materials, recyclable packaging, recycled content, reduced use of materials to lower carbon footprint, and refillable designs. And all of these would ideally be delivered with no compromise on pack functionality, cost, or on-shelf impact.

For the Graphic Packaging team, it was great to see the first-to-market, paperboard packaging innovation we created for the new GOOD hair coloration products winning a PCD award. I feel this win really highlights the power of collaboration in driving sustainable packaging solutions.

Metal transfer – the hero of the show

So, can new paperboard consumer packaging innovations deliver the ‘wow’ factor that so many brands in the personal care and beauty sectors seek? Absolutely!

We know that the litho print process for paperboard packaging offers fantastic print quality compared to many other print technologies. Yet when it comes to, for example, achieving the high shine, mirror effect (that many brands demand) using inks and varnishes without the use of films or foils that can compromise the recycling process, then there is still some work to be done.

Today, a significant proportion of the luxury beauty packaging market relies on metallized PET laminated board to get the high-impact mirror effect so popular on high-lux packs. And because of that, one of the main attractions on our stand that kept our Technical Account Director, Daniel Blatt, incredibly busy, was a metal transfer demonstration. Daniel was showcasing a metal transfer process that avoids the use of film or plastic in the application process, boosting the recycling performance of the finished pack and achieving the stand-out mirror impact that brands desire. It was truly the hero product of the show, offering luxury combined with sustainability improvement.

Regulatory pressure mounts

From talking to visitors across the two days, it was also apparent that many were looking for suppliers that can support their Scope 3 emissions compliance, as well as provide tangible evidence of their sustainability efforts. Whether that’s EcoVadis or Sedex accreditations, CDP scoring or ISO14001 compliance – having in place key ESG metrics, reports and accreditations was key to their preferred supplier choices.

On top of this, many talked about already working on Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Packaging Waste Regulations compliance, despite the regulations not being enforceable or in place yet in many countries. A sign that the whole sustainability agenda is being taken very seriously and far more proactively than perhaps just two years ago.

Another area of concern was the sampling market and the use of small bottles and sachets that would now be captured under single-use plastics regulations. With restrictions already happening in countries such as France, this could create considerable disruption in the market, and it seems nobody has an easy solution to the problem in the short term.

And finally, agility….

Because of supply chain disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many brands were talking about updating their supply chains to make them more resilient and robust..

Hence, speed and agility are key requirements of their packaging supply chain partners. As brands face pressure to drive new products and innovations over the line and into the market quickly, they need a partner who can act as a true extension of their team, understanding their vision and working collaboratively to bring it to life efficiently and effectively.

As a global leader in paperboard consumer packaging, Graphic Packaging offers the technical support and innovation required by brands to drive their new product development programs at a local, regionalized level but also provides the global reach and scale needed to assure supply chain stability. Our team recognizes the need for speed in today’s fast-paced and shifting marketplace. We work in close collaboration with our customers to bring new innovations to market swiftly through efficient research and NPD processes and delivering against our purpose to package life’s everyday moments for a renewable future.