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If you're an attendee or exhibitor for Pack Expo (October 28-31; McCormick Place, Chicago), you might see me running from booth to booth (most likely with coffee in hand) conducting as many interviews as possible. Who knew you could get good stories and a workout all at the same time?

Heather Caliendo

October 22, 2012

5 Min Read
Pack Expo: Packaging wrapped in one big exhibition space

If you're an attendee or exhibitor for Pack Expo (October 28-31; McCormick Place, Chicago), you might see me running from booth to booth (most likely with coffee in hand) conducting as many interviews as possible. Who knew you could get good stories and a workout all at the same time?

While this is my first time attending Pack Expo, along with seeing Chicago, I feel that my experiences at NPE 2012 have prepared me to take on any exhibition. (Note to self: bring tons of business cards. You can never have too many business cards.)

PACK_EXPO_banner_0.jpgAccording to PMMI, owner and producer of the Pack Expo trade shows, Pack Expo 2012 is set to be the biggest show in 10 years. Back in July, PMMI announced that the show had sold out of exhibit space.

The show has a record 1800-plus exhibitors showing off the latest in packaging and processing innovation across more than 1.1 million net square feet of exhibit space. More than 46,000 attendees are expected at this year's show.

Here are some potential highlights from the show:

A superhero for packaging
Dow Chemical's performance packaging business will highlight a packaging video at Pack Expo to demonstrate the positive effects of flexible packaging solutions. The animated video developed by Dow will explain the benefits of flexible packaging to consumers and advocate for flexible packaging. Led by the business's flexible packaging mascot the flexible packaging superhero, the video explains how flexible packaging solutions benefit consumers, the environment and packaging manufacturers.

Due to uncertainty about flexible packaging's role in the marketplace, Dow created the video to dispel previous misconceptions the general public had about plastics used in packaging and show how flexible packages have a beneficial effect on the environment, due to the fact that they use less material than glass containers.

Throughout the video, the packaging superhero leads the viewer through a packaging adventure that illustrates how flexible packaging helps reduce food waste, protect food and is a sustainable choice. The video explains how Dow's layered technology defends against outside stressors and food spoilage to ensure consumers can enjoy quality, fresh food straight from the package. No word if there will be a cameo from The Avengers.

In addition to superheroes, Dow's performance packaging team has a variety of other activities planned for Pack Expo. Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's, will deliver the keynote address at the company's pack partners event on Tuesday, October 30 at 8:30 am. Dow is also sponsoring the Showcase of Packaging Innovations, which introduces attendees to packaging designs from around the world.

SPI position plastics as the material of choice
Along with having an exhibit booth, SPI will have meetings for its thermoforming and food/drug and cosmetic packaging materials committees, as well as an event celebrating its 75th anniversary. The trade group's plan includes:

SPI Exhibit Booth: North Concourse C40. SPI will provide an opportunity to meet industry colleagues and SPI leadership at the show.

SPI Thermoformers Committee: On Oct. 29, SPI's thermoforming committee meeting will include a presentation by economist Peter Mooney, who will offer guidance on how to turn challenges into opportunities in a difficult economic, political and business climate.

SPI Food/Drug & Cosmetic Packaging Materials Committee: On Oct. 29-30, SPI's conference will address questions and concerns on technologies such as bioplastics, antioxidants, nanotechnology, high pressure sterilization, green chemistry and more.

SPI 75th Anniversary Party:
On Monday, Oct. 29, from 5-7 pm
in South Hall room S106B, SPI is offering the opportunity to join industry colleagues from across the plastics supply chain. Plastics processors, equipment and mold makers, resin suppliers and OEM/brand owners will be on hand to celebrate 75 years of plastics innovation. Party-goers will enjoy live entertainment, an open bar and a buffet.

Packaging influencing purchasing designs
Clemson University will explore the purchasing power of packaging at their exhibit, the Packaging Test Track.3882_1300_custore_1.jpg Clemson's exhibit is on the mezzanine level of the North Hall, just below the Grand Concourse.

This will be Clemson's second Pack Expo exhibit, and will focus on the ways packaging engages shoppers' brains. The university's 2011 exhibit used eye movement tracking technology to compare what attracted shoppers to the final purchase decisions. Clemson University students in packaging science and graphic communication will staff the exhibit and continue some of the 2011 research with a closer look at point-of-purchase and kiosk sales, the appeal of fresh goods and beauty products.

Several pavilions

The Reusable Packaging Pavilion will make its return to Chicago at Pack Expo. Exhibitors are suppliers of reusable pallets, bulk containers, washing technology, pooling and other solutions that help brand owners potentially enhance the sustainability of their operations while reducing costs. RPA will provide educational programming at The Conference at Pack Expo, which runs concurrently with the show, from Monday, Oct. 29, through Wednesday, Oct. 31. Sessions offer a special focus on sustainability, the benefits of intelligent shipping and container selection criteria.

The Reusable Packaging Pavilion is just one of several pavilions and customer-centric features to help attendees maximize their time at Pack Expo. These include The Processing Zone, The Pharmaceutical Pavilion, The Confectionary Pavilion and The Brand Zone as well as several networking lounges dedicated to the baking and snack, beverage, confectionery and pharmaceutical industries.

As you can see, there will be lots going on at Pack Expo. My schedule is filling up with interviews, however, if your company has a pretty innovative plastic packaging solution you believe would be of interest to PlasticsToday readers, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].

See you in Chicago!

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