Digital technology is set to transform the retail landscape and the Corrugated Packaging Industry welcomes the opportunity to embrace the interactive revolution and retain its place as the number one packaging material on the high street, says Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).

Corrugated is a billion-pound state-of-the-art industry that protects more than 75% of goods in transit and is the world’s favourite form of packaging.  However, CPI says that digital packaging formats present new challenges for the industry which will continue to innovate and invest in the latest technologies to retain the strong position it has in the retail sector.

Demand from brand owners for print sophistication to boost marketing activity in-store has led to corrugated evolving from a traditional brown box for transporting goods, into a high-tech on shelf advertising tool. It is this continuous requirement to connect with their customers that is now driving interactive and multi-media packaging.

For example, in Europe a major cereal brand has launched a new interactive 3D carton, targeting potentially millions of consumers to use the packaging as part of an online gaming experience – a promotion aimed at increasing sales and improving brand recognition and loyalty by bringing a ‘wow’ factor to the buying experience.

New marketing techniques will engage customers, and corrugated’s flat printable surface makes it ideal for printing Smartphone apps and QR codes. By working with digital print specialists, the Corrugated Industry can develop the most precise and effective technologies to handle the interactive tools that will meet the growing appetite from consumers for instant access to product information.

The UK Corrugated Industry has proved it can be forward looking by investing in printing techniques to produce high quality shelf-ready packaging (SRP) for promoting goods in-store. The development of interactive and multi-media packaging will also help brands achieve greater customer loyalty by allowing them to offer consumers a plethora of services through their mobile devices.

CPI  Director of Packaging Affairs, Andy Barnetson, said: “The digital revolution could see the biggest change to the Corrugated Industry since the introduction of the casemakers back in the sixties and seventies.

“It will require investment but the Corrugated Packaging Industry is laying the foundations to take advantage of future innovation, especially when costs for intelligent packaging are likely to reduce as interactive technology becomes more readily available.

“At the turn of the 21st century, corrugated confirmed its position as the bulk carrier of choice after supermarkets decided to populate shelves 24/7. Digital technology could now provide the industry with another opportunity for growth. We do need to focus on digital services as I believe it is the future of the Corrugated Industry”.

Corrugated has stood the test of time because it has proved to be a hugely flexible packaging medium. It is not only economical but also has a superb environmental record – nearly 80% of the material is recycled, saving an area the size of Greater London from landfill every four months – and can also promote exceptionally high quality products.

Driven by manufacturers and marketeers rethinking their retailing strategies, the Corrugated Industry has been transformed into a three-in-one packaging solution comprising product protection, advertising platform and merchandiser. The Industry must continue to look to the future and be quick to connect with new digital technologies if it is to remain at the forefront of retail packaging.

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) aims to unify the UK’s Paper-based Industries with a single purpose in promoting paper’s intrinsic value as a renewable and sustainable fibre-based material, enhancing its competitiveness through seeking to reduce legislative and regulatory impacts and in spreading best practice.

CPI represents the supply chain for paper, comprising recovered paper merchants, paper and board manufacturers and converters, corrugated packaging producers and makers of soft tissue papers.

CPI represents 70 Member companies from an industry with an aggregate annual turnover of £5 billion, 25,000 direct and more than 100,000 indirect employees.

The paper industry is a relatively small user of wood; only around 11% of the wood extracted from the world’s forests is used in paper and pulp production.

Of the fibres used to make paper in the UK, over 70% comes from paper collected for recycling by households and businesses. The rest comes mainly from virgin wood fibre from trees grown in sustainably managed forests.

Confederation of Paper Industries

Andy Barnetson

Director of Packaging Affairs

Tel: 01793 889602


Twitter: @CorrugatedCPI

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