Nov 28, 2023

Industry Experts Collide at Global Pouch Forum 2023

Day 2 Panel Discussion (From Left: Thomas Blaige, Chairman & CEO, Blaige & Company; David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director, Mintel; Alison Keane, President & CEO, Flexible Packaging Association; Douglas Peckenpaugh, Group Publisher, Packaging, BNP Media) (PHOTO: Flexible Packaging Association)

Having just taken place in Rosemont, Illinois, Global Pouch Forum 2023 brought together a variety of industry experts in a collaborative setting in order to get a better sense of where the flexible packaging industry is headed. Through a series of keynote speakers and panel discussions, Global Pouch Forum allowed attendees to learn more about the key issues surrounding flexible packaging, while also connecting with industry peers.

"It's at events like Global Pouch Forum where we lay the groundwork for tomorrow's new innovative industry directions," said Douglas Peckenpaugh, Group Publisher, Packaging, BNP Media. "We learn from each other and have important discussions about where we’re finding our toughest challenges and where we’re finding solutions to meet and exceed the packaging needs of the global CPG product development market moving forward."

Over the course of the event, innovation and sustainability emerged as common themes across all of the sessions. Seen as a key packaging trend moving forward, pouches offer suppliers a cost effective and energy efficient method of transporting products to market, while also offering sufficient protection as well. Global Pouch Forum made clear that pouch packaging is here to stay, and it can be applied to a wide variety of industries, including snack foods, ready-made meals, pet products, personal care supplies, and even gardening materials.

"The shift [to flexible pouch packaging] is not just incremental, it's monumental," remarked Dennis Calamusa, President and CEO of ALLIEDFLEX Technologies, during his opening keynote address. "These packages are not just a pouch, but they are functional, working, and productive solutions for delivering products to marketplace."

Further underscoring Global Pouch Forum's focus on innovation within the flexible packaging industry were several unique brand presentations explaining their own journeys when it came to utilizing pouch packaging, featuring sessions on Frito-Lay, Big Easy Blends, Kirkland, Hindustan Petroleum, Rviita, and MegaFoods®.

Explaining Big Easy Blends’ story, CEO Sal LaMartina emphasized the "disruptive power of the pouch" during his presentation. "The pouch created something new, something unique, and something that people loved."

"If I want differentiate, what's going to make [the customer] stop and say, ‘Hey what's that?’ It's the pouch. And that gives me a competitive advantage to compete with the big boys [in the energy drink market]," said Mitch Jacobsen, CEO and Founder of Rviita Energy Tea. "For a brand like us to compete in arguably the most competitive beverage category there is and be somewhat successful, that speaks to the power of the pouch and to the power of differentiation."

Sustainability was another major talking point throughout the duration of Global Pouch Forum, as various speakers emphasized the need for sustainable packaging and the utility of flexible pouches to advance this effort. It became clear that while many of the speakers and attendees may be competitors when it comes to battling for market share and brand awareness, sustainability is an issue everyone in the industry can rally behind.

"Sustainability is a collaboration, not a competition," emphasized John Meehan Jr., Product Development Manager, Bryce Corporation, during his presentation about Frito-Lay's Coachella-specific compostable packaging. "[At Global Pouch Forum], competitors are side by side on the same panel, and we’re all working together toward the final goal, no matter which route with sustainability we’re deciding to take. We’re all in this together."

The event also featured over 50 exhibitors showcasing their own unique contributions to the pouch packaging industry, including representatives boasting impressive equipment, materials, and services.

For those who missed the action unfold live, select sessions from Global Pouch Forum can be viewed on-demand by visiting here.