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International and cross-sectoral cooperation in the food and packaging sectors

Packaging Innovations for the food industry” conference


Successful implementation of the BSR Innovation Express project is closely co-operating with the following food and packaging clusters: the Association of Lithuanian Printing Industries, Smartfood cluster (Lithuania), Paper province cluster (Sweden), Food products quality cluster (Latvia), AgroBioCluster (Poland).

The first general meeting took place in Paper Province cluster, Karlstad Sweden on April of 2018. It was based on a discussion about food and packaging clusters activities, also developing a dialogue about packaging innovations for the food industry potential synergies were discussed.


The second meeting of five clusters took place in the “Packaging Innovations for the food industry” conference in Vilnius (Lithuania) at the beginning of June and it had a purpose to discuss sectoral challenges, solutions and future trends.


One of the organizers of the event, the head of the Association of Lithuanian Printing Industries, Kristina Rakauskaitė, said that due to rapid changes of consumer habits and need, members of the association must be active in following the trends and update their products.

“Both, packagers and food manufacturers, are searching for new solutions in modern, organic, innovative packaging. By organizing this event, we were willing to encourage both sectors to discuss on this important topic together, including speakers of Lithuania and foreign countries,” – said the head of association.

The head of Smartfood cluster, Giedrius Bagušinskas, says that the food and packaging sectors are closely related and partly dependent on each other.

“I am very glad that the first event of two different sectors has taken place. We have had very valuable speakers, we could all together discuss on packaging innovation trends, opportunities and daily issues” – said the head of the cluster.


For the future packaging education, leisure and values fostering

“The global packaging design industry has already surpassed the aesthetic limits. Food manufacturers has to accept new rules – smart packaging, experience of consumers, social values, sustainability and environmental protection are just a few of the things that need to be attendant to,” – said Edvardas Kavarskas, partner and design strategist at Etiquette Agency.

Global companies and manufacturers are beginning to experiment and create recyclable, environmental friendly packages, which also could be used not only for direct use, leisure or even for education.

Consumers of some markets now has the opportunity to test innovations. It is interesting to see how the pizza box turns into a projector, corn flakes into VR glasses for leisure time, paper box of whiskey into portable speaker, or McDonalds Happy meal basket into interactive educational game for children.

Packages with their own characters or technological solutions may reflect the values of the company and contribute to various social responsibility projects. It is more and more relevant for people. Today, about 15 percent of consumers are interested in what kind of material packages are made and it is expected that after 5 years this number will increase to 30 – 40 percent.

E. Kavarskas believes that some innovations are already in use and may be easily applied in Lithuania even without increasing the budget for packaging.


The impact on packaging because of growth in sales channels

Due to constantly changing consumers’ habits, along with the traditional retail chains in the market there is noticeable growth of small markets, e-commerce and low-cost trading networks.

According to the rapid growth of sales channels manufacturers facing with the challenge to manage increasingly complex supply chains.

“When it comes to the product, it is often the responsibility of manufacturers to use different packages for different channels. That’s why today it is very important to start looking for the opportunities to optimize packages, packaging and logistics solutions and increase the efficiency on the supply chains. If there is communication between each company’s sectors and partners it may lead to achieve truly great results,” – said Vice President of European Innovations and Development at Smurfit Kappa, Arco Berkenbosch.


Packages innovations in practice

It is very important to understand that Innovations isn’t the same as creativity, because even 90 percent of innovative ideas cannot be realized in the real life.

“Instead of fashionable hunting for innovations its worth to pay attention to instruments which already exist in the market. It’s possible to discover innovative packages and packaging solutions by combining creative ideas and existing technologies in printing,” – said marketing director at Aurika, Lina Raulinavičienė.

Creativity by nature is unmanageable, unpredictable and usually has nothing to do with generating profit. Therefore, according to L. Raulinavičienė, it’s very important that each company have systems for innovation managements, to find a way how to manage ideas so that they could predict them and assess how to get investment income.


The Influence of the Millenium generation

Today’s key challenges for manufacturers are related to consumer behaviour. The need of the Millenium generation are already emerging and will become even more visible during 3, 5, 10, 20 years .Statistics shows that from now until 2020-2025 this generation will be 50 percent of the European Union’s workforce. This means that they will become the main segment target. It is very important for the manufacturers to understand their future behaviour today, because they will have different thinking, values and interests.

Marketing manager at Aurika has presented some main features of the Millenium generation behaviour. One of them is social tendencies. Young generation has skills in easy using technologies, sharing experiences in social media and manufacturers cannot control this, but they can to use it in packaging production. Emotions are very important when it comes to experiential packages. Millenium generation admits that they are buying thing products based on how they are packed. They like to try and to experience new thing more often, and this becomes a challenge for manufacturers, because they have to look for more diverse and innovative ways how to print by using costs efficiently. This generation is more educated, it matters for them how the package was made, is it recyclable or is it secondary use. They are very concerned about ecology problems. The Millenium generation has more diverse lifestyle if it is compared to the generation before. There is need for fast food or for the food heated in the microwave ovens packages, smart packages that is convenient to use.


Mayr-Melnhof Carton during the conference presented innovative solutions for the food packaging and thus reaffirmed its position as a leader in cardboard production technology. “One of the main innovations is food carton, which creates unique barrier for mineral oil. It belongs to Kraft family and it is light and durable,” – said Dmitry Mikhailov, the speaker of a Mayr-Melnhof Carton.


During the conference speeches also were presented by Magnus Persson, Senior Adviser for Development and Innovation in the Leading Business Cluster for Forest Bio-Economics at Paper province cluster in Sweden and by Associate Professor of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University Dr. Eugenijus Jurkonis.

More than 70 food and packaging sectors experts from Lithuania, Latvia, Sweden, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands and Austria were participating in the conference.


This conference is a part of the ongoing BSR Innovation Express project. It was organized by the Association of Lithuanian Printing Industries, Smartfood cluster, Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology together with international partners Paper province cluster (Sweden), Food products quality cluster (Latvia), AgroBioCluster (Poland).