Interview: Pack Expo Highlights Innovation for Longer Shelf Life

For this edition of Pack Expo, held between September 23-25, 2019, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the organizers prepared a wide range of products and equipment dedicated to bakers and confectioners. From innovative solutions designed to keep the products fresh for longer, to digital printing technologies, everything will be exhibited at the American trade fair in Nevada, the organizers told WorldBakers.

What should bakers and confectioners expect for this edition of Pack Expo Las Vegas?

The trend toward better-for-you snacks and baked goods is putting a big demand on the baking and snack producers. Pack Expo Las Vegas will serve as a showcase of the latest packaging solutions to keep clean-label products fresher for longer.

Snack food manufacturers can find resealables, stand-up pouches and single-serving options in The Containers and Materials Pavilion, located in the lower South Hall. The pavilion will feature a wide range of formats from paperboard and glass, to metal and plastics as well as flexible and resealable packaging innovations. New types of films, sealants and other technologies to enhance shelf life will also be on display.

Digital printing technologies for customization, small-run flexibility, high-end looks and more can be discovered in The PACKage Printing Pavilion, located in the Central Hall. New to Pack Expo Las Vegas, the pavilion will feature solutions for digital printing for folding cartons, flexibles and corrugated packaging as well as cutting-edge labeling, coding and marking. Confectionery industry suppliers will feature solutions for aeration, batch refining, shaping, enrobing, cluster production and cooling in the Confectionery Pavilion, found in the upper South Hall. Attendees will also find easy-open packaging and portion control formats in The Confectionery Pavilion, which is sponsored by the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

Pack Expo Las Vegas will also provide an opportunity for industry professionals to make connections at The Snack Break Lounge, Hosted by SNAC International in the Upper South Hall, Booth S-7628.

What are the newest challenges in the bakery products packaging?

The global snack foods market was valued at USD280bn in 2016 according to PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies’ 2018 Snack Foods Packaging and Processing Market Assessment and Trends report.

According to the report, demands for healthy snacks including bars and combination snacks are driving the growth of the North American market. Demand for flow wrappers (bars), pouch-filling machinery (especially form-fill-and-seal) and SRP-based case packers for nuts and seeds as well as rigid tray filling equipment (meat/cheese/fresh combination snacks) is also on the rise.

Top consumer trends stem from the following categories: better-for-you, single-serve, resealability, flavor variety, and combination snacks. Leading retail trends include shelf-ready packaging, stand up pouches and lower-case counts. As a result, machines must be flexible and fast enough to handle a wide variety of products. Consumer packaged goods (CPGs) are expected to increase investments in flexible case packing equipment over the next few years. Metal detectors, x-ray machines, and foreign object detection equipment are expected to also grow in addition to the demand for flexible vertical form-fill-and-seal machines.

What should visitors expect for this edition of Pack Expo?

Pack Expo Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO is the year’s most comprehensive packaging event on the continent, showcasing the latest packaging technologies to help manufacturers improve operations and stay competitive.

It brings together 2,000 exhibitors and 30,000 attendees over 900,000 net square feet of exhibition space from 40+ vertical industry markets and nearly 130 countries.

Participating in Pack Expo Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO will foster new ideas and solutions that can move the business forward and help companies compete in a crowded marketplace. There are opportunities to:

– See solutions from other vertical industries to help address production challenges and boost innovation.

– Evaluate new products, technologies, and suppliers that will take projects to the next step.

– Discover what’s trending and find unexpected solutions from other industries.

– Find out what your competitors are up to and how you compare.

Which are some of the novelties this edition presents?

Brand new to this year’s show – spotlighting fun and interactive robotic activities and cobot displays. Attendees entering the Robotics Zone, located in Booth N-850 in the North Hall, will be welcomed by the PACK EXPO Greeter Robot, sponsored by Omron Automation. As they explore the interactive area they will experience:

– Local robotics teams displaying their robots in action in the Future Innovators Robotics Showcase;

– Robots packing food for children, as a part of PACK for a Purpose: Robots Fighting Hunger, in collaboration with Blessings in a Backpack, which provides weekend meals for elementary students in supplemental nutrition programs;

– Object Detection and Flexible Grasping with Artificial Intelligence Demo sponsored by Siemens Digital Industries US;

– Comau’s Interactive Wearable Exoskeleton allows attendees to try on a wearable suit and perform assisted task and product handling;

– Soft Robotics End-Of-Arm Tool Exhibit demonstrates an end-of-arm tool designed to mimic the human hand to grasp and manipulate items that vary in size, shape, and weight;

– The KUKA Robotic Pianist live in concert;

– The Ready Robotics Bowling Robot;

– Pick and Place/Relocation activities in action, compliments of the University of Waterloo and Septimatech Autonomous Robot;

– And, of course, an Omron Automation interactive dice playing cobot.

The PACK for a Purpose: Robots Fighting Hunger demonstration is in collaboration with Blessings in a Backpack. The charity benefits children facing food insecurity across Las Vegas and elsewhere in the United States. Exhibitor supplied robots will demonstrate various automated capabilities while filling 6,000 bags of food for this greater cause.

The Forum, a growing staple in the PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows, makes its PACK EXPO Las Vegas debut in the Central Hall with its interactive industry knowledge exchange. The Forum offers free, 45-minute learning sessions on the latest industry trends, including hands-on activities, small group discussions, and Q&A each day of the show.

The Technology Excellence Awards will recognize exhibitors’ innovative technology that has not yet been shown at a Pack Expo and Healthcare Packaging EXPO in the previous calendar year.

The PACKage Printing Pavilion makes its Vegas debut and will showcase the latest innovations in digital printing. This 35,000sqf area, located in the Central Hall, brings digitally charged end-users challenged with SKU proliferation, micromarketing efforts, sustainability and traceability face to face with OEMs ready to deliver solutions.

What is the main focus of the trade show for this particular edition and how do you explain it?

Pack Expo offers a one-stop-shop for all your packaging needs. Catering to over 40 vertical industries, including baking & snack, beverage, branding, cannabis, chemical/household, confectionery, personal care, dairy, food, meat, pet foods, pharma and medical and more, you are sure to find the solution that you need and learn about new technologies to make your operations more efficient, cost-effective and ultimately increase your bottom line.

What are three aspects that would encourage visitors to attend Pack Expo?

  1. In addition to all the new show features at this year’s show, there are also a number of notable pavilions:

The PACKage Printing Pavilion will focus on the advantages of digital printing showcasing the latest in cost-effective solutions for smart, short-run, on-demand, cost-effective, variable data and personalized packaging.
The Containers and Materials Pavilion: latest innovations in paperboard, glass, metal and plastic, flexible and resalable packaging as well as containers and materials.
The Showcase of Packaging Innovations®: Sponsored by Dow®. Award-nominated packaging solutions will be on display.
The Reusable Packaging Pavilion: Sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) will showcase sustainable packaging solutions, to help reduce waste, cut costs and gain chain efficiency.

The Confectionery Pavilion: Latest trends and technologies relating to aeration, batch refining, shaping, cluster production and more.
The Workforce Development Pavilion: This is PACK EXPO Las Vegas’ one-stop-shop for resources to strengthen your current workforce and grow the existing workforce.

  1. Industry-specific Lounges:

Attendees can network, gain insights and recharge at three industry-specific lounges:

– Beverage Cooler Lounge Hosted by the International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT);

– Snack Break Lounge Hosted by SNAC International;

– Candy Bar Lounge Sponsored by Bosch and hosted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA);

  1. In-Booth Product Demos & Education:

In-booth product demonstrations and education are musts-have on your Pack Expo Las Vegas agenda. Take these opportunities to get to know suppliers and their products in-depth, ask questions, and listen to questions that others ask.

Dan Orehov, managing editor of Potato Processing International magazine, contributed to this feature

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