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FMI 2001: Innovation on vacation?

The annual three-day extravaganza sponsored by the Food Marketing Institute came to Chicago in early May, and while the usual shoulder-to-shoulder hustle and bustle was felt in the crowded aisles of McCormick’s Place’s South Hall, packaging innovation seemed relatively scarce.

In fact, the May 6-8 show struck Packaging World editors as one of the most lackluster FMI shows in memory.

Maybe it’s just that FMI has raised the bar so high over the past few years that it finally reached a point where it couldn’t meet editorial expectations.

There were exceptions, of course, which will be highlighted in an upcoming issue of Packaging World. But the lack of widespread new package excitement was noticeable, even dramatic. Packaging creativity was limited to line extensions via new product varieties and different package sizes for products already in the marketplace.

Economic indicator?

Perhaps this is yet another indication of the current state of the economy; new product introductions, which require well-orchestrated and well-funded research and development, have been put on the back burner. Maybe by this time next year the economy will have improved, so that packaging innovation can return in full spring swing at FMI 2002.

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