Guadalajara in Mexico hosted 964 of the label and package printing industry’s thought leaders and representatives from 12 Latin American countries recently, who came together to share ideas and help shape the future direction of the industry in the region at this year’s Label Summit. This made it one of the best attended events of its kind to date. The event, held April 24-25 at Expo Guadalajara, united key suppliers and top label and package printing industry stakeholders for a combination of expert-led conference sessions with informative panel discussions, technical and practical presentations, and an expo running for the duration of the event.

Hot conference topics were the growing trends of premiumization (focus on high quality labels and packaging), augmented reality and intelligent labels, which provide increased opportunities for brands to engage with consumers and offer added value, plus the emphasis on consumer experience. The huge growth potential of the Mexican market was also discussed in detail. 

Opening the summit on day one was a keynote presentation given by Avery Dennison’s lead for sales and marketing in Latin America, Isabela Monteiro. She addressed trends in Mexico, the region and worldwide, market forecasts and how consumers are willing to pay more for functional packaging.

Other day one highlights included a panel discussion on attracting skilled labor and retaining key employees, with Heriberto Sánchez from Acoban and Etifilms, Keren Becerra from Etiquetas Lobo Impresores and Label Pack, and Samuel Rodriguez de Landa from La Escuela Nacional de Artes leading the debate. Emotional well-being and talent development were acknowledged as key to industry success, as was meeting the needs of younger entrants to the market who want a more flexible working life. This is a challenge for converters, where production jobs see a turnover of 3 percent. 

Day one ended with a panel discussion led by Ricardo Stone of Etiquetas e Impresiones de Mexico, Ángel Calderón of Impredimex, Gerardo Gonzalez of Etiprint and Jorge Martínez of Groupo Etimex. They agreed that since much of the Mexican market is price-focused, it is important to find a niche and excel at it. Digital printing was also flagged as a hot topic, as converters are increasingly adopting digital strategies. 

Day two of the conference began with Jos Kabouw of Grafisk Maskinfabrik and Joaquim Correia of Arconvert leading a session on high-end label decoration. Kabouw discussed augmented reality, foils and embossing as ways for brands to stand out on a shelf, while Correia looked at premium material options.

The summit ended with a panel discussion on branding, and in particular enhancement, personalization and private label versus premium brands. High-profile consumer brands were well represented on the panel, with Mónica Medina of Nestlé, Sergio Bojalil of The Hershey Company, Humberto Ojeda Lozano of Tequila Casa San Matías, alongside Manuel Antonio Melendrez of Norjal. The recurrent theme of consumer experience was discussed. He said there are greater opportunities for brand marketers and designers to interact with their label suppliers, who in turn have a responsibility to educate their customers on the latest trends. 

The accompanying table-top exposition featured 87 companies, with many leading suppliers represented, including Acpo, Armor, Avery Dennison, Bobst, Durst, Dupont, Epson (who also launched their SurePress for the Latin American market), Esko, FUJIFILM, Green Bay Mexico, Mark Andy, Sun Chemical and Tesa Tape.