Packaging Strategies routinely shines the spotlight on companies’ efforts to employ eco-friendly packaging. It’s one reason we launched the monthly Sustainability Insider enewsletter in May.

May also saw the release of two separate reports highlighting some of the speedbumps that firms are facing when it comes to adopting sustainable packaging.

It’s healthy to acknowledge shortcomings and areas that need to be addressed. For example, regardless of who your preferred presidential candidate is, a clear-eyed analysis of your candidate’s strengths and weaknesses could prove critical to achieving victory at the polls. The same can be said about achieving sustainable packaging.

Aquapak Study

A comprehensive new study by Aquapak, ‘FMCG flexible packaging: accelerating the move from plastic to paper,’ based on research with 100 UK packaging experts responsible for packaging R&D, technology, design and sustainability for FMCG brands, reveals that the majority (92%) plan to stop using plastic in their consumer packaging all together. The report shows that paper and paperboard are the replacement materials of choice, followed by new polymers, bioplastics, and multi-materials.

However, despite the commitment to move away from plastic, the timeframe for transition is still considerable, with 27% of packaging experts expecting this to happen by 2027, 35% by 2028 and 28% by 2029. Just under one third (30%) described the move to new packaging materials in their business as too slow, 58% described it as ‘moderate’ and only 11% said it was fast. Crucially, the majority (87%) want the switch to alternative materials to replace conventional plastics to take place more quickly.

Industrial Physics Report

New research from Industrial Physics reveals the extent of innovation within the food and beverage packaging industry and how this is impacted by internal operations.

Last year, Industrial Physics’ report found that there is a desire for innovation, with 96% of packaging professionals in food and beverage expressing that new developments in packaging were important, and 71% characterizing it as very important. However, this year’s data highlights that, in reality, less than a quarter (24%) of organizations are currently taking an innovative approach.

In the international survey of packaging professionals operating in the food and beverage packaging sector, more than 1 in 5 (22%) packaging professionals said that their company does not usually follow up on the innovative ideas it comes up with, and half of respondents (49%) said that too many teams are involved in the innovation process, which slows them down.



I find these honest assessments of progress toward sustainable packaging to be extremely valuable. A similar analysis was part of Packaging Strategies’ own 2024 State of Converting report released earlier this year.

It will be exciting to report in the coming months on how converters and brands are responding to packaging regulations coming down the pike … and on how they are making real, verifiable progress toward sustainable packaging.

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Brad Addington
Chief Editor, Packaging Strategies
(248) 227-4727