Roughly 130 people gathered in Minneapolis on a cold, snowy spring day to launch the Best of Food and Beverage Packaging event on Tuesday April 29. The first day kicked off with a tour of three facilities in the area: H.B Fuller, Laser Sharp FlexPak and LasX Packaging. At the H.B Fuller Packaging Center of Excellence, we had the chance to hear from Kim Essex, Senior VP and North American Director of Food and Nutrition at Ketchum. She shared with us top food and beverage packaging trends she sees in the retail space. Essex spoke of packaging that assigns a sense of place, for instance chocolate bars from Venezuela. The packaging for these will highlight the origin and the rich culture that surrounds the product. Also, she mentioned the trend of packaging that tells a story and includes company history information, goals, origin and more to really connect with buyers. Other trends include the practical — like extending fridge life, enhancing product preservation (with tighter seals) and packaging that signals expiration like temperature regulated labels for milk and cheese.
That evening, attendees had a chance to mingle, network and check out the entries into the Best of Food and Beverage packaging awards that were on display on site. Wednesday kicked off with breakfast, and then started right away with the speaker presentations. Within presentations from General Mills to Angie’s Artisan Treats and Dine, some common themes emerged from the event.