P&G meets beauty market challenges

At its September conference in New York, HBA Health and Beauty America recognized Paul Sheppard as its Packaging Executive of the Year. Sheppard is the associate director, package development, Global Personal Beauty Care, at Procter & Gamble. Here, he discusses the award and the packaging market.

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PW: What is the significance of this award for you?

Sheppard: The recognition is a real honor in that suppliers to the beauty industry conduct the voting. To me this says that the industry recognizes P&G and the work we are doing with strategic suppliers as leaders in the beauty business.

PW: What are the most significant packaging issues or challenges you face today?

Sheppard: It’s a great time to be in this industry as there is a renewed acknowledgement of the power of great package design. There are also significant challenges. It is an ongoing challenge to deliver a package that “delights the consumer” and also meets our customer requirements.

Also, regulations around the globe are changing fast and becoming more difficult to keep up with from country to country. A good example is some of the recent legislation on excessive packaging in the U.K. Meeting the regulations, while still leveraging the package to incite trial and provide a delightful “in-use” experience, is difficult, especially in the self-service market.

PW: What trends do you see emerging in the areas of cosmetics, fragrance, and personal care packaging?

Sheppard: One of the major trends I see is that consumers and retail customers are expecting more out of packaging than ever. Our new packages need to be designed “holistically,” considering all aspects of the product life cycle. Every design element needs to have a reason for being.

PW: How will RFID affect packaging at your company?

Sheppard: At this point RFID is not affecting our packaging. We have been conducting tests with some of our retail partners but only at the case or pallet level, not on individual packages.

—JB

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