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The global packaging press

Like editorial bookends, the Lead Off and Insiders columns in last month’s Packaging World both addressed how important it is for packaging professionals to be aware of global trends and opportunities.
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The Lead Off column addressed China and packaging equipment, while Insiders looked at Brazil and flexible packaging technologies.

We return this month to considerations of the global marketplace by recommending a unique source known as IPPO, or, the International Packaging Press Organization. If you’re a stakeholder in the packaging value chain seeking information about packaging as it’s perceived and practiced in markets other than your own, IPPO is a resource you should be aware of.

IPPO was founded in 1975 by a small group of enthusiastic packaging journalists who, first and foremost, understood the importance of packaging to the global marketplace and to society in general. They thought that packaging knowledge could be improved on a much broader scale if the journalists covering it formalized their relationship and met on a regular basis. It wasn’t long before they had established a solid relationship not only amongst themselves but also with the leading institutions that are active in packaging, including the World Packaging Organization (WPO) and the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (Apeal). Also plugged into IPPO are the sponsors of major packaging exhibitions such as interpack, Pack Expo, Emballage, and Ipack-Ima—all of which set aside a room for an IPPO meeting at their shows.

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IPPO elects a board of officers every three years during interpack in Dusseldorf, the meeting that is most heavily attended by the 80 or so dues-paying members who now belong to IPPO. It’s been my privilege to serve on the board since interpack 2008.

IPPO launched its own Web site, www.ippopress.com, in the late 90’s. If you’ve ever wondered how to get a message out to the global community of packaging professionals, you may find the answer at the IPPO Web site. Or maybe you have a question about a particular region. Take Colombia, for example. A quick scan of the IPPO membership at www.ippopress.com tells you that Lilian Robayo, editor of El Empaque, may be able to help. (Hello, Lilian!) For each IPPO member you’ll find a photo, brief backgrounder, phone number, email, and Web site address. Like any Web site, the IPPO site is in need of some updating, and current IPPO chairman Bo Wallteg is moving ahead with plans to get the updating done. Wallteg in his “day job” is editor-in-chief at Nord Emballage out of Sweden. He’s been an IPPO member since 1993, and he explains the dynamic of the organization this way.

“What we have in common is a passion for packaging. IPPO gives us a way of sharing that passion in a friendly way. But we’d also like the entire packaging community to know that we are a reliable and independent source of packaging information. If a company has developed something unique, is going to celebrate an anniversary, wishes to invite a select group of professional packaging journalists to a special occasion, or simply wishes to establish a good relationship with the packaging press, the gateway is the IPPO Web site. With interpack around the corner, now in particular might be a good time for exhibitors, for example, to get in contact with the editors and invite them to your stand.”

By the way, don’t get stalled by worries about language barriers. IPPO members all have a good command of English.
I would also encourage not just packaging show exhibitors but also pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods companies who attend packaging shows to put IPPO on their radar screens. After all, the next time Pfizer’s new packaging technology helps seniors comply more reliably with their daily drug regimen, or Kelloggs’ new cereal box is lightweighted with sustainability goals in mind, wouldn’t it be nice if the announcements carrying such news could go to professional packaging journalists around the world? Thanks to IPPO, they can.

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