Retooled London Packaging Week hailed a success

There were 170 exhibitors at London's Olympia
There were 170 exhibitors at London's Olympia

London Packaging Week, which made its debut this week as a new major event in the capital for the packaging industry, has proven successful based on early feedback.

Starting with an event at Olympia on Wednesday and Thursday (21 and 22 September), the show – which was organised by Easyfairs – replaced Packaging Innovations & Luxury Packaging London, to bring the branding in line with Easyfairs’ other European packaging events, ADF & PCD Paris, and Packaging Première in Milan.

The Olympia element of London Packaging Week comprised of four exhibitions: Packaging Première for the luxury products market; PCD for perfume, make-up and toiletries; PLD for premium and luxury drinks; and Food & Consumer Pack for food.

Meanwhile, the Pentawards packaging awards is also hosting its first face-to-face Pentawards Festival this week, at the Science Museum, featuring speakers from the global design and branding community. This will culminate in a ceremony at the Royal Opera House tonight (23 September).

The Olympia exhibitions also hosted three separate galleries to showcase innovative and award-winning packaging design, while there were presentations throughout the two days across three seminar stages on the two floors of the event area booked out by 170 exhibitors.

Product launches at the show included DBop, Denny Bros’ new multi-page labelling format that can also accommodate inserts such as transfers.

Vetroplas expanded its recyclable offering by introducing a new flip top cap made from HDPE for its 24/410 bottle, while BellaGiada presented its new range of sustainable natural materials, including Reborn, its certified 100% recycled leather.

Speaking to Printweek at Olympia on Wednesday afternoon, Josh Brooks, marketing and community director for Easyfairs’ packaging events, said numbers were up on last year’s Packaging Innovations & Luxury Packaging London by around 25%.

“The show looks amazing and there’s a very nice buzz in the hall. We’ve introduced new brands for this event so that we now have the four events in one, each with their own focus; the aim of that is to create focus to areas both for exhibitors and for visitors.

“What I’ve gathered from the feedback so far is that the exhibitors are booking for next year, which is very positive as it means they’re having a good show and meeting good people. I’m also hearing anecdotally that the quality of the visitors that people are seeing is very good.”

He said the new format “gives us a stronger message that this is the place to be in London”.

“The concept of London Packaging Week is in the same vein as a design week or a fashion week; we’re creating that with this exhibition at the heart of it as the flagship event, but there will be other things that spring out of it as we develop, and it brings an idea of glamour and excitement.”

Brooks said key themes at the show included sustainability, “which remains the number one challenge for the market and will do for a long time to come”. Inflationary pressures and impending packaging regulations were also high on the agenda, as was inclusivity, for example the openability of packs, and clear communication on packaging for those with visual impairment.

Exhibitors that Printweek spoke to at Olympia were also happy. George Welham, sales executive at Abbey Labels, said the show had been steady and that the business had picked up “a fair few” leads.

“We don’t want to miss the opportunity to expose ourselves to these sorts of shows, but it’s also about generating as many leads as possible and then the hard work starts when we get back.”

Oliver Kleinman, head of marketing at The Meliora Group, whose businesses Delga Press and Delga Labels were exhibiting, said: “We’ve exhibited here for eight straight years and we come for a mix of reasons – brand awareness is key, it’s great to network with other exhibitors and it’s great to meet new prospects who are looking for new and innovative solutions.

“We’ve got some lovely case studies here that we can show and talk about, but it’s also a great platform to meet customers; a good opportunity where we all come together in one place.”

The group brought a full-strength senior team to the show ready to talk to visitors.

“Delga Press is one of the most important parts of [The Meliora Group], we deal with some very big clients across various sectors and so it’s important that the entire management team from ownership to top-level management and beyond want to be involved, and enjoy being involved.”

Several paper merchants and suppliers were also exhibiting at the event, including Antalis, Fedrigoni, and DS Smith.

GMG Color was producing packaging mock-ups on production substrates on its stand and marketing manager Amy Young said the company had recently introduced a driver for a Roland LEC printer that allows direct printing onto production substrates.

The company’s tech had previously driven an Epson device that was using proofing media, which is also still available to users.

Young said the show had been “good, and that the majority of interest had been for that specifically”.

She added: “For us it’s about speaking to brands and creative agencies who aren’t necessarily our target or direct customers, but for who the colour is most important, so we’ve definitely had a lot of interest.”

Hybrid Software Group was showing the iC3D software suite, which generates photorealistic 3D virtual mock-ups on the fly, allowing cartons, labels, flexibles, bottles, shrink sleeves, POS displays, and in-store visualisation to be accurately rendered for design verification and e-commerce applications.

Hybrid acquired the business and assets related to iC3D from Creative Edge Software in March.

Hybrid CEO Mike Rottenborn said: “iC3D can be used for production or for design, or ideally both. [Our booth has] been mobbed this morning, and we’re also showing the Hybrid software tools like Packz, to integrate the design aspect into the production software.

“We’ve exhibited here in the past, and we did a similar event in New York a couple of months ago – people want to be back out at trade shows and see what’s new and what’s going on.”

London Packaging Week will be held on the same dates next year – 21 and 22 September 2023 – but is moving to the Excel exhibition centre in East London.

“For the size of show that we have, Olympia is a good venue. But the show this year is bigger than it was last year, when we were only downstairs and not up on the balcony too, and then next year we will grow again,” said Brooks.

“This is a very beautiful venue, but there are other advantages to having a flat floorplan where we can zone the different shows in a potentially easier way.”