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FACHPACK Trend Radar 2021: The trends making the industry tick

As an important indicator of where the European packaging industry is heading, it is natural that FACHPACK, scheduled for 28-30 September this year, also strives to reflect the trends that make the industry tick. To obtain empirically supported results, the "FACHPACK Trend Radar" has been compiled this year for a second time in collaboration with VEND Consulting. The resulting white paper once again provides a fascinating overview of packaging trends in the near future, and will be available for downloading from 21.07.2021.

FACHPACK Trend Radar 2021: Study design
To compile the results, a total of 21 selected trends were analysed by packaging industry representatives and experts via an online questionnaire in terms of the attractiveness of the individual trends for the packaging industry; the extent of change and/or relevance of the trends for the industry; and the timeframe in which each individual trend will become suitable for the mass market.

The online questionnaire was completed in the spring of 2021 by 108 packaging and industry experts, most in management positions. About 80 percent of the participants are part of a large company with at least 1, 000 employees or a medium-sized enterprise with 50 to 1, 000 employees.

Almost one-third of those surveyed work in packaging materials and accessories, and about 10 percent in the segments of services for the packaging industry, packaging printing and finishing, and packaging machinery. The balance of the study participants come from allied industries such as logistics, the food industry, professional associations, research and consulting.

FACHPACK Trend Radar 2021: The top three trends
Analysis of the gathered data shows that the top three future trends in the packaging industry all have a sustainability angle. At the top of the list is an increase in the use of recycled materials. Recycling plastic waste and the use of recycled plastic in new products help to minimize the use of primary raw materials. That represents a substantial decrease in carbon emissions compared to production using crude oil.

The second top trend that was identified was the use of monomaterials to improve separability. One major challenge in recycling involves separating materials out. According to Germany's Federal Environment Agency, a material must contain at least 95 percent of the principal component to be considered a monomaterial. Although packaging consisting of a mix of plastics can still be recycled, the process is much more involved and the properties of the recyclate will be poorer than those of a monomaterial.

The third top trend, according to the survey participants, is packaging with a low impact on resources. Saving materials using this packaging means far fewer primary resources are consumed, which provides significant added value in terms of sustainability in packaging. New production processes are one good way of achieving this. One definite goal, however, is to ensure the packaging retains its functionality. Thanks to the increase in material efficiency with plastic packaging, the use of materials over a period of 25 years has been reduced by a quarter, for example, equating to a carbon saving of 2.6 million tonnes.



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