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KTN issues new report on UK Packaging Industry

Posted on 21/06/2018

Findings from the UK Packaging sector focussed report

KTN have released a new report entitled ‘The UK Packaging Industry – A Strategic Opportunity: A Landscape Review and Technology Roadmap Report’.

Packaging is a sector that supports other key manufacturing and service industries but is also in itself a provider and spur for innovation, as well as contributing to UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is a sector that warrants further investigation and examination.

Packaging can be defined as an enclosure of products in various types of packaging format such as wrapped pouch, box, bag, can, tray, and others. It is part of a complex system for delivering products from point of production to point of consumption, while its main purpose is to protect the product and ensure it is delivered safely and in perfect condition to the end user. Its role in a circular economy is to maintain the value in a product for as long as necessary and to help eliminate product waste. Packaging is very useful in information-sharing – to impart health and safety information or to support brand loyalty and promotion.

On average ten times more resources – materials, energy and water – are invested in products compared with the resources used to produce their packaging. The direct costs associated with using packaging are therefore relatively small compared to the value it adds to the supply chain in ensuring that these embedded resources do not go to waste.

KTN has previously arranged a number of networking and briefing events for the UK Packaging and related communities:

  • Smart Packaging Workshop – York, 27th November 2014
  • Smart Packaging for Pharmaceuticals – Westminster, 13th April 2016
  • The UK Packaging Roadmap and Landscape – NEC Packaging Innovations, 27th March 2017
  • Plastics use in the Food Industry – Birmingham, 1st May 2018

Current developments in a range of emerging technologies will impact on the UK Packaging Industry:

» Printed electronics

» 2D materials and nanomaterials

» Smart technologies

» Additive manufacturing/3D printing

» Novel biomaterials and biopolymers

» Internet of Things

» Robotics and autonomous systems

» Energy Harvesting and Storage

» Embedded sensors

» Functional materials

» Industry 4.0

» Biorenewables

Packaging community consultations- Conclusions and recommendations

  • Public and private investment is needed for innovation and R&D – to help turn emerging and developing issues into market opportunities.
  • New investment is needed to address the ageing workforce and skills gap – appropriate structures must be put in place to address the clearly apparent skills and training deficit and sector-wide requirement. The sector has a particular requirement for apprenticeships (nationalcareerservice.direct.gov.uk).
  • There are pockets of academic expertise spread across a number of UK Universities distributed in dedicated silos of knowledge – the community suggest this issue may be addressed for the long term by the possible creation of a UK Centre of Excellence for UK Packaging.
  • The sector is currently (June 2018) dealing with the major impact of global attention to plastic use (in particular the issue of single use plastic in packaging) – which will have long-term implications and provide a major incentive to innovate.

For more information concerning the report or the sector, please contact Brian McCarthy

You can download the full report here.