Packaging is integral to most people’s lives. This is true for every business that manufactures, transports, stores or sells goods. It also applies to every consumer looking to make a purchase. Without packaging, we couldn’t protect or preserve goods, which would make life pretty difficult. How we do this, however, is constantly changing, especially as consumers become more aware of the impact packaging can have on the environment.
As a result, it is vital businesses stay on top of industry trends and government legislation. This ensures that the packaging they produce, and use, is fit for purpose and meets consumer demand. The best way to do this is to keep an eye on packaging news, available through not only news outlets but specialist sites. Here we look at six of the key ones to visit for the latest packaging news;
Packaging News (https://www.packagingnews.co.uk/)
Packaging News is probably the best known and most read of all packaging trade publications on the market today. It’s a great source of information for business owners and directors. It’s also something those working across all business functions including sales, marketing and packaging technology should read.
The site offers the latest packaging news, broken down by materials and markets as well as details of industry innovations, events, opportunities to network and job postings. In addition to the online site, readers can sign up for daily or weekly packaging news bulletins or subscribe to a monthly magazine.
Readers should find it easy to navigate, with clear headers that direct them to areas of interest. Under each main heading (News, Materials, Markets, etc.) there are sub-headings, allowing them to drill down to areas of interest. They can bookmark news stories so they can be revisited at a later date. Readers can also share news stories via email and social media. There are also sections for hot topics and trending articles, making it easy to find the main packaging news stories.
Packaging Today (http://www.packagingtoday.co.uk/)
Another great source of packaging news, Packaging Today, provides industry insights and a detailed look at innovations in packaging or changing working practices. It has over 10,000 visitors a month (and a further 30,000 readers through its print magazine); visitors come from across Europe, not just the UK. It’s aimed at the industry as a whole, meaning owners, directors and other business functions will all find something useful in it.
The site offer readers overviews of changes to government legislation through a White Papers section, as well as buyers guides and the chance to purchase used equipment. A monthly magazine (print or online) is available for an annual subscription. Readers can easily navigate across the pages, with plenty of links to take them back to the main news stories. This means it shouldn’t be difficult to keep abreast of the packaging news. Nor should it be difficult to understand what others in the industry are thinking thanks to a comments section.
Packaging Europe (https://packagingeurope.com/)
For businesses who work not only in the UK but across the European Union, Packaging Europe is a good source of packaging news from the EU. Like Packaging News and Packaging Today, they are intended to reach a wide audience, meaning everyone, no matter what their role, should bookmark the site and visit it regularly.
Packaging Europe looks at innovation and industry news. It provides information on international events and offers networking opportunities. These are especially useful for those looking to build their business abroad. Information is broken down by sector, and a subscription is also available for a monthly print or online magazine.
There are a lot of similarities across all three of the packaging news websites in terms of layout, meaning readers can probably move easily between the three. However, Packaging Europe is probably the ‘cleanest’ of all the sites, with less advertising or banners. Their home page has featured packaging news stories and the latest news stories, which readers can scroll through. There is also a most-read section, letting readers know what others in the industry are particularly interested in.
The Confederation of Paper Industries (https://paper.org.uk/)
The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) is one of the largest trade associations in the UK for the paper industry. They represent all paper-based industries, including packaging manufacturers. As well as representing and promoting the paper industry, they focus on the benefits of paper as a renewable resource.
The CPI website shares industry news and information on legislative and regulatory changes from across the UK, EU and worldwide. It also has lots of facts and figures about the industry and an interesting ‘myth-busting’ section, which could be useful for sales and marketing teams. Membership is required to access some areas of the site, meaning it won’t be accessible to everyone working in the packaging sector. Because this is a trade association not a news site, there is not as much packaging news available as on other sites. However, the news it does share is relevant to most business functions.
The British Plastics Federation (https://www.bpf.co.uk/)
The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has represented the British plastic packaging industry since 1933. It has over 450 members across the supply chain (representing more than 80% of industry turnover). It aims to promote the sector and the views of its members. It also works to share innovation in the industry, including pilot projects and research. Members can attend events, offering the chance to network, and receive regular packaging news updates.
The BPF breaks its packaging news down into two sections; BPF-specific and industry-wide. Again, like the CPI site, the volume of news stories is lower than on the packaging news sites. However, there is plenty of useful information on the site, making it well worth a visit. Another area that may be of interest, especially given consumers increased demand for sustainable packaging, is the issues section. This looks at areas of interest to the industry, linking back to the latest news stories. These include marine waste, where packaging can be recycled, and the impact of Brexit on the packaging industry.
Readers will find the site easy to work their way around, thanks to a simple drop-down menu. These have sub-headings, allowing visitors to drill down as needed. There is also a member-only area that has additional news and resources.
The UK government is responsible for packaging regulation. Responsibility is held across a number of different departments. For example, ‘Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations’ fall under the remit of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Meanwhile, the ‘Broadly Equivalent Standards for Packaging and Equivalent Standards for WEEE’ sit with the Environment Agency.
Searching Gov.uk is fairly simple on the face of it. There is a search bar at the top of the site and entering the word packaging, for example, brings up a broad range of topics. Readers can use these to search further to find what they are looking for. The downsides are that pages often suggest a number of other pages, including guidance, legislation, and government departments. This can make it easy to get ‘lost’ in a sea of information. Visitors also can’t set alerts for changes to pages, meaning they have to revisit the site regularly to look for updates.
Not all businesses will find a benefit in the gov.uk website. All of the sites we’ve listed above, for example, will share any updates (or potential updates) to government legislation or regulations with their readers. However, this is a good site to visit to make sure nothing has been missed or to take the opportunity to comment on white papers that could affect the industry. Readers should just be wary of spending too long on the site; it may be a good idea only to visit to read about subjects in more detail after they’ve been seen on another packaging news site.
Staying on top of packaging news
The packaging industry is constantly changing and coming up with new ways of packaging products. Therefore, it is vital that businesses stay on top of packaging news, allowing them to respond to consumer demand and take advantage of innovations that could impact their bottom line.
The best way to do this is to regularly visit key sites that allow them to keep abreast of packaging news. As we’ve seen, there are a number of great packaging news sites available free of charge and news is also available through a range of trade associations. Packaging news sites cover a wide range of topics and are suitable for people working in all business functions and at all organisational levels. Trade association sites tend to be more targeted in their news. Subscriptions provide access to additional information and resources, but there are also free alerts and newsletters, meaning a financial outlay isn’t necessary.
Wherever possible, owners, directors and key staff should sign up for alerts, newsletters and monthly magazines. This way, companies can be certain they don’t miss out on packaging news that could affect their business.