"Simply put, this is the most dynamic show we've produced in Las Vegas," says PMMI President & CEO Charles D. Yuska. "Record-breaking only begins to describe it. Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 brought integrated processing and packaging innovations to more than 40 vertical markets, including food, beverage, confectionery, pharmaceutical, and baking and snack."
Preliminary figures show 2011 attendance figures about 15 percent greater than 2009, and a jump of nearly one-third in international attendance (includes Canada). Net square footage was up more than 20 percent.
Pack Expo Las Vegas (*Attendance figures include co-located event)
2011 Preliminary Figures
Number of Exhibiting Companies—1,559
Net Square Footage—627,853
Number of Exhibiting Companies—1,140
Net Square Footage—521,147
Growth (2009 to 2011)
Number of Exhibiting Companies—+36.7%
Net Square Footage—+20.5%
New features set new tone
PMMI was intent on making sure this edition of Pack Expo Las Vegas - the eighth since the every-other-year show launched in 1995 - presented a range of new features and activity. Key among them was the arrival of The Processing Zone to Pack Expo Las Vegas. The special pavilion launched at Pack Expo International 2010, with the introduction of processing innovations to the Pack Expo show floor.
"The show is packed full of packaging and processing professionals looking for innovative ideas. We're always looking for great ideas in our business, and this is the place to come for innovation," says Freshway Foods President/Owner Phil Gilardi.
The Pharmaceutical Pavilion and The Consumer Retail Experience, an interactive feature created by Clemson University and sponsored by Kodak, were brand-new additions to Pack Expo, and premiered in Las Vegas.
"The introduction of The Pharmaceutical Pavilion at Pack Expo Las Vegas was the reason behind our decision to attend the show this year. We're here to find the newest processing and packaging technologies to enhance existing lines," says Keith Foether, of fulfillment and direct marketing firm Budco.
PMMI announced The Pharmaceutical Pavilion in November 2010. The specialty exhibit area, located in the Central Hall, was home to pharmaceutical processing and packaging solutions providers. As predicted, the newest Pack Expo pavilion was a destination for leading pharmaceutical companies such as Unilever, Kimberly Clark, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Becton Dickinson and the Bayer Corporation.
Using eye-tracking technology in a simulated retail environment, Clemson's Consumer Retail Experience studies the packaging features that draw consumers' eyes and ultimately, lead them to purchase a product. This exercise and experiment in consumer motivation was the brainchild of graduate students in several disciplines, including packaging and visual merchandising, at Clemson University, a PMMI partner school. PMMI donated exhibit space and used scholarship funds available through the Packaging Education & Training Foundation to help bring students to the show. Kodak sponsored the exhibit.
In The Brand Zone, Project 2020: The Consumer Experience rewarded visionary thinking with the "Package of the Future" competition, won by Directions Marketing for its "Tri-tainer"™ concept for pet food packaging. First prize in Pack Expo Selects went to MultiVac, for its Heinz Ketchup Dip & Squeeze package. As the Grand Prize Winner, Directions Marketing will receive the Complete Studio Bundle from software partner EskoArtwork. The other nine finalists will receive copies of Studio Designer, EskoArtwork's 3D visualization plug-in for Adobe Illustrator.
Creating & Connecting Community
Key to Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 was a customer-centric approach that helped attendees easily tailor the event - easily the largest packaging and processing show in North America this year - to their particular needs.
Among the most highly-regarded show features was the first-ever Pack Expo Leadership Lecture, featuring General Colin Powell (USA, ret.). Powell spoke to more than 1,000 on the art of leadership, and all in attendance appreciated his perspective.
On the show floor, attendees and exhibitors could connect at lounges dedicated to specific vertical niches The Baking-Snack Break (endorsed by the Snack Food Association (SFA) and sponsored by Blueprint Automation, Kliklok-Woodman and Yamato), The Candy Bar (endorsed by the National Confectioners Association(NCA)) and The RX Lounge. Each lounge included an "ask the expert" feature and Innovation Stage presentations in which exhibitors presented their latest solutions to common packaging and processing challenges. Receptions at each lounge on Monday, Sept. 26, gave attendees and exhibitors additional networking opportunities as they relaxed at the end of a very busy first day of the show.
In the lounges, attendees and exhibitors had a special opportunity to join Pack Expo 's Connected Communities, the new, year-round online presence for the professionals of Pack Expo. Those who joined onsite were entered into a drawing for an iPad 2.
"The Connected Communities serve a similar purpose to the lounges on the show floor, but they're online" says Yuska. "They're a 24/7/365 platform for networking and staying informed in your specific niche or niches of the processing and packaging communities."
Pack Expo 's Connected Communities launched in late August, with four community sites tailored to specific industry markets: confectionery, baking & snack, pharmaceutical and general packaging and processing. Each community includes a range of features, such as tailored news, insight and discussions developed and moderated by staff hand-picked by PMMI's Packaging Machinery Technology Magazine.
Robust, Customer-Centric Conference & EXPO
"This year's Conference at Pack Expo program was one of the strongest I can remember," says Yuska, noting topical conference tracks and session topics such as sustainability, food safety and the Food Safety Modernization Act, serialization and project management. "Our partners played a large part in that."
Five industry associations developed the content for the Conference at Pack Expo, providing a range of disciplines and viewpoints: the Alliance for Innovation & Operational Excellence (AIOE), Converting & Package Printing (CPP) EXPO, Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP), International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) and Reusable Packaging Association (RPA).
With presenters including leading consumer packaged goods firms (CPGs), attendees expected top-level information, and they weren't disappointed.
"I'm attending the full conference track for sustainability. CPGs such as Coca-Cola have demonstrated high-level thinking to address questions on sustainability," says Neil Gloger, CEO, InterGroup International, a firm that buys, reprocesses and sells post-industrial scrap plastics, with a special concentration on flexible packaging scrap. "You never know who you're going to meet at Pack Expo: It attracts a very wide audience. I love this show!"
Executives from the following CPGs were among the many conference presenters: Bush Brothers & Co.; Coca-Cola; ConAgra Foods; Del Monte Foods; Estee Lauder Cosmetics Ltd.; Genentech, Inc.; General Mills; Kellogg Company; Land O'Lakes, Inc.; Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.; Pfizer Global Manufacturing; Procter & Gamble; Shire Pharmaceuticals; Smithfield Foods.
Pack Expo as a way to discover innovations
"Clearly, Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 was a success - but without the support of the industry, it would not have reached these record levels. Endorsements, conference content, special events and more took the Las Vegas show to new levels," says Yuska.
Another record-breaking attendance category for the Las Vegas show was the group of large CPGs taking advantage of Pack Expo 's Innovation Discovery Program. These firms often take a divide-and-conquer approach to Pack Expo, sending out subgroups of the buying team to investigate specific types of solutions and share their findings. Participants in Innovation Discovery will send a buying team to the show, will have access to a meeting room and receive trends information from PMMI experts. This year's Innovation Discovery participants were Campbell Soup, Frito-Lay/Pepsico, General Mills, Great Lake Cheese Co., H.J. Heinz, Mars Petcare USA, Nestlé USA, PepsiCo Chicago, and Procter & Gamble.
Yuska adds, "The support of the Innovation Discovery participants is one more indication of Pack Expo 's importance to professionals involved in processing as well as packaging. That's one more reason I'm really excited for Pack Expo International 2012 next fall at Chicago's McCormick Place, October 28-31."