While a majority of those in the survey say that packaging operations are conducted in-house, many operations are being outsourced. Primarily these outsourced operations include manufacturing/processing, co-packing and raw material sourcing. However, a third say their companies are purchasing design and creative services from agencies and other service providers. When it comes to design, many companies rely on these providers for their expertise across a range of products to create innovative packaging.

Study participants say they use outside vendors for their packaging needs because it gives them more flexibility to meet customer demands, increase supply chain efficiency, and manage their capacity requirements. The use of co-manufacturers and co-packers is especially prevalent during the commercialization of new products, where the product’s future is being tested and capacity requirements may be limited.

Of the survey participants, all indicated some level of purchase authority or influence. Two thirds have more than 10 years of industry experience, with 45 percent involved in packaging design or development. Another 31 percent claimed sales or marketing roles. Respondents primarily represent CPGs (36 percent) and marketing/design agencies (24 percent). About 45 percent work for companies with fewer than 100 employees.