Resuming the growth trajectory of the packaging, food & pharma industries

Ipack-Ima in Milan puts together a composite in a time of new challenges

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Valerio Soli, president of Ipack-Ima. Photo IPP

4 May 2022 – The Ipack-Ima shows and programs that began Tuesday the 3rd of May are resuming the growth and innovation of the food, pharma, print, and packaging industries on the scale of specialized global shows. Reflecting the decline of the pandemic and widespread vaccination availability in much of the developed world, it is a resilient step after 25 months of the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted most industries and postponed and canceled most major industry in-person shows.

However new disruptions and challenges have emerged, this time entirely man-made, which many of the more than 1,100 exhibitors are and their customers are still contending with. The shortages of raw materials and chips have affected most machine and technology manufacturers and the logistics crisis and the shortage of containers and ships (many still stuck in Shanghai harbor) have driven up prices and extended lead times with an added dose of uncertainty. 

Exhibitors of packaging printing and converting equipment say that although they have tried to absorb some of the costs, the prices to consumers have gone up by as much as 15 to 20%. They do not seem to expect a huge number of customers to digest these increases easily and if they do to tolerate uncertain deliveries of as long as eight months. 

The show began with the usual inaugural events including the press conference of the World Packaging Conference which used it not only to talk about its World Packaging Awards Gala Ceremony on the 4th evening but also the release of its Packaging Design for Recycling Guide that has been released in more than 20 languages. To be made accessible across the world with plans to eventually document its implementation in each country, it is a breakthrough for an industry in which recycling is too often an afterthought, and designers are seldom informed or educated at the beginning of the process.

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Pierre Piennar, the president of the World Packaging Organisation. Photo PSA

Valerio Soli, president of Ipack-Ima spoke about the importance of the World Packaging Awards being presented during the show by the World Packaging Organization as a welcome collaboration that combines the strengths of the two platforms in joint purpose. Pierre Piennar, the president of the WPO spoke of the organization’s mission of a “better quality of life, and the urgency of its environment and sustainability mission and commitment to these through engineering, technology, material science, and education.” The head of the still growing organization with members from 60 countries said that his focus is to “support local industry, especially in the developing world. To enable them to compete with the developing world is my focus.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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