PACK EXPO Connects Takes the Trade Show to You

Live. Virtual. Reimagined. Connect with the packaging industry at the year’s most engaging event, to be held everywhere Internet is available on Nov. 9 to 13, 2020.

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The value of domestic shipments for packaging machinery is forecast to continue growing nearly 5% (CAGR) to $8.7 billion by 2025, according to State of the Industry 2020, from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. With a continually evolving—and sometimes crippling—worldwide pandemic making supply chains and previous supplier and consumer packaged goods (CPG) connections complex, PMMI Media Group introduces a live, virtual event like no other, PACK EXPO Connects 2020, Nov. 9-13. Complete with live chats, live product demos and engaging educational opportunities, this reimagining of virtual shows provides attendees a direct connection with top suppliers to the solutions they need.

The first experience of its kind, this event boasts several new important features that will help foster connections with the widest variety of solutions providers available anywhere–minimizing attendee time and effort to find the innovations that you need. An easily searchable database of exhibitors and products, conveniently organized by 12 major categories, allows attendees to zero in on specific needs and schedule live chats and interactive product demos with technical experts. The intuitive, state-of-the-art interactive platform makes live engagement with exhibitors simple via MyConnects planner. At the same time, Outlook calendar integration allows attendees to add My Planner events to their Outlook calendar for ease of reference.

Now more than ever, packaging and processing professionals need solutions for a rapidly changing world. PMMI Media Group brought together all of its digital marketing expertise and decades of extensive industry knowledge to provides attendees an event full of virtual showrooms for live demos, live chats with product experts, and overarching educational offerings.

• Live Product Demonstrations will connect attendees with exhibitors. These time-efficient, 15-minute, live demonstrations will allow attendees to check out what’s new, ask questions and engage with exhibitors in real-time.

• Live 1:1 Chat will allow attendees to chat directly with exhibitors during dedicated event hours. If an attendee can’t catch an exhibitor during the event hours, Virtual Business Cards will help foster those connections even after the event’s conclusion.

• Comprehensive Educational Content will feature thought-provoking sessions from leading suppliers and industry experts on today’s packaging trends. Attendees can take the information gleaned from these sessions to enhance their knowledge before heading back into the virtual showrooms for specific solutions. All content noted will be available both as scheduled and on-demand after the event.

Immediate industry excitement
Early exhibitor commitment and support outpaced initial projections, forcing PMMI Media Group to extend exhibit hours, adding an additional hour to each day to ensure attendees were able to visit as many virtual showrooms as possible.

“The packaging industry looks forward to PACK EXPO each year, so any virtual event linked with the PACK EXPO name is something we know we needed to be a part of,” says Dustin Lee, director of sales, Morrison Container Handling Systems. “In our ever-evolving world, we have to be agile and continue to adapt. It may feel different but using this virtual platform to come together at PACK EXPO Connects is an opportunity for our industry to grow in a new innovative way.”

More than 500 exhibitors committed to the show in the first three weeks of sales and live showroom hours will run Monday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. CST and Friday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CST. PACK EXPO Connects will bring together a full range of solutions providers–minimizing the time and effort necessary for attendees to find answers to real-world packaging and processing challenges. PACK EXPO Connects has been designed to foster interactions between CPGs and suppliers with an intuitive, state-of-the-art virtual platform that makes live engagement easy.

“We are excited by the level of support we’re getting from exhibitors who are eager to share their technologies through this new platform,” says Dave Newcorn, senior vice president, digital and data, PMMI Media Group. “To ensure the greatest possible access for both exhibitors and their customers, we are expanding exhibit hours for PACK EXPO Connects. And, despite the expanded inventory, we expect live demo slots will fill up soon.”

Long time PACK EXPO exhibitor Dorner Manufacturing is also intrigued and enthusiastic about the prospects of the web-based PACK EXPO Connects.

“As Dorner worked to adapt our marketing strategy through these challenging times, selecting and then participating in the right virtual events is essential,” says Matt Jones, vice president Dorner Mfg. Corp. “An event with the cache and name recognition of PACK EXPO is sure to bring the packaging community together to educate, enlighten, and even entertain target customers seeking our products for their applications.”

Each day also features international demo hours to expand PACK EXPO Connects global reach. International demos will be broadcasting at 10:00 a.m. China Standard time (8:00 p.m. CST) and 10:00 a.m. Greenwich Mean time (4:00 a.m. CST). These time slots will enable exhibitors to demonstrate their solutions and enjoy live interaction with attendees outside the Western Hemisphere. In addition, all educational sessions will be available on-demand for international attendees to watch at times convenient to them. Spanish language closed captioning will also be provided for specific content and interviews with industry newsmakers.

“PACK EXPO Connects is shaping up to be the most innovative and engaging industry event this year,” says Jim Pittas, president and CEO, PMMI. “We are so happy that the research and effort invested in this debut event received such an enthusiastic response.”


PACK EXPO Connects–November 9-13. Now more than ever, packaging and processing professionals need solutions for a rapidly changing world, and the power of the PACK EXPO brand delivers the decision makers you need to reach. Attendee registration is open now.


In the months leading up to the announcement of PACK EXPO Connects, PMMI Media Group conducted extensive end user interviews with some of the world’s leading CPGs. These all-encompassing in-depth interviews had one goal: To ensure PACK EXPO Connects represents exactly what the packaging and processing industry wants out of a web-based event.

Immediately, the number one request across the board was a desire not only to see live technology, but also to have the ability to interact with exhibitors during the video demos of actual machines.

PACK EXPO Connects delivers the technology for exhibitors to conduct these interactive connections, complete with live chat features, resembling virtual Factory Acceptance Tests (FATs). These live video demos, coupled with the ability to interact with technical personnel and product experts, best mimic and fulfill the expectations and experience of what attendees expect from an in-person event. This also reinforced the need for a collective group of exhibitors demonstrating technology in action, with PACK EXPO Connects offering a one-stop-shop for CPGs.

Beyond experiencing technology in action, attendees want to spend their valuable time exploring new products, rather than existing products presented as new. PMMI Media Group solicited its in-house team of editors to vet what is and isn’t new, serving as neutral industry experts. Together, they will help make sure that attendees can track down the latest and greatest offerings and the virtual exhibitor showrooms presenting them.

Finally, attendees wanted robust, engaging virtual exhibits. The research revealed that attendees are not impressed with fancy 3D renderings of booths on a computer screen. They want to quickly understand what products are available, see live demos, and connect with experts in real-time. As a group, participants revealed that they would prefer fully fleshed-out web-based showrooms, complete with live feedback and interactions vs. simple listings offering a static encounter. PACK EXPO Connects developed the package to ensure exhibitors can deliver the solutions to attendees’ current packaging and processing challenges.

Free attendee registration launched Sept. 15, giving CPGs plenty of time and opportunity to prepare for preview week, Nov. 2-6.

This soft opening is a key time for registered attendees to browse live demo descriptions, build their planner and save items to Outlook calendars. Organization and pre-planning are the means to success as there will be so much to see and experience at PACK EXPO Connects.

As a bonus, packexpoconnects.com will remain live until March 31, 2021, offering additional opportunities for attendees to connect with companies via their virtual showrooms.

Get Schooled at PACK EXPO Connects
Wide-ranging and informative content make up the backbone of PACK EXPO Connects educational and networking offerings, featuring thought-provoking sessions from leading suppliers and industry experts on packaging trends. All content noted will be available both as scheduled and on-demand:

• Innovation Stages: Tune in for these 30-minute sessions to hear from exhibitors and industry experts on the latest breakthroughs and trends in sustainability, food & beverage, and more. Presenters will be available during their scheduled session for a live chat Q&A. If attendees miss a live scheduled session, video links will be available for future viewing.

• Start each day with the morning Jumpstart sessions. The dynamic daily kick-off presentations are highly engaging and fast paced, featuring multiple subject matter experts in addition to reporting from our own PMMI Media Group editors. Visit packexpoconnects.com for more detail, but for quick reference the topics each day include:

    • Monday - Sustainable Packaging and Processing

    • Tuesday - Workforce Development. A special Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network Education Session with Jan Tharp, president and CEO at Bumble Bee Foods, sponsored by Morrison Container Handling Solutions, Plexpack, Septimatech, and SMC. PPWLN events connect the audience through valuable insights on women in the packaging industry.

    • Wednesday - The Robotic Revolution

    • Thursday - Remote Monitoring, Remote Access, and Virtual FATs

    • Friday - E-commerce, Emerging Brands, Healthcare Packaging Trends and Contract Packaging

• Trend Chats will feature interactive discussions on buzzworthy industry topics.

• Daily Download: Get the best-of-the-best rundown from our PMMI Media Group editors as they recap can’t miss showcases, the latest innovations, and thought-provoking sessions. Listen in as they review their daily highlight reel and what they are most looking forward to seeing tomorrow. Catch the session live daily or listen on-demand to make sure you are experiencing all the latest opportunities.

• The Solution Room will consist of 45-minute interactive sessions led by industry thought leaders and partner organizations, discussing packaging challenges. Collaborate to find the solutions you are searching for and engage via live chat with our industry gurus from the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP), The Association for Contract Packagers & Manufacturers (CPA), the OpX Leadership Network and OMAC - The Organization for Machine Automation and Control.

• Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network: Featured in a morning Jumpstart session, PPWLN will feature a presentation from Jan Tharp, President and CEO at Bumble Bee Foods. PPWLN is sponsored by Morrison Container Handling Solutions, Plexpack, Septimatech, and SMC.

• The Showcase of Packaging Innovations, sponsored by Klöckner Pentaplast, will feature winning entries from worldwide packaging competitions, including the Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL), Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), Foil and Specialty Effects Association (FSEA), Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP), ProFood World’s Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards, Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC), Reusable Packaging Association (RPA), The Tube Council, and World Packaging Organization (WPO).

• Miles to McCormick Walk/Run Challenge: Have some fun, be active, and support a good cause, the PMMI Education Foundation. While we will be missing PACK gives BACK and the miles we put in at McCormick Place we encourage PACK EXPO Connects participants to take a break, get some fresh air and go for a walk. Log your miles on a tour from O’Hare Airport to McCormick Place in Chicago. Participants logging their walks/runs three times throughout the week will be entered to win one of three, $150 gift cards for Chicago-themed treat from Taste of Chicago.

• PMMI Media Group Awards

     Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards
    ProFood World will recognize food and beverage processing and packaging innovation projects via the 6th annual Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards competition. Speakers from Smithfield Foods, Conagra Brands, McCormick & Co., and Hiland Dairy will present details about their award-winning projects in water, electricity, landfill, and product-loss reduction.

     Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame
    PMMI will introduce the Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame Class of 2020 during PACK EXPO Connects. The Hall of Fame celebrates professionals who have advanced the fields of packaging and/or processing; honorees are professionals who have dedicated themselves to the industry. Inductees, who are profiled starting on page 106, will be introduced during Friday’s Jumpstart sessions.

     Manufacturing Innovation Awards
    ProFood World will recognize food and beverage processing and packaging innovation projects via the 4th annual Manufacturing Innovation Awards competition. Speakers from The J.M Smucker Company’s new Colorado facility, Hermes Boissons—world’s first installation of in-bulk HPP, and Lotus Bakeries’ greenfield facility in North Carolina will discuss their award-winning projects.

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