Disruptive packaging takes centre stage

Gail Macleod, founder and MD of StratcomThe 2015 African Label and Packaging Indaba drew to a successful close on 9 September. The conference revealed valuable insights into the current economic climate in the South African packaging industry and opportunities presented in markets on the continent.

Held in Bryanston, Johannesburg, the two-day event was a gathering of industry leaders from the packaging and labelling industry, equipment and machinery suppliers, manufacturers, brand owners and retailers from the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, converters and printers.

This format set the stage for extensive knowledge share and encouraged networking opportunities across various industries. The conference focused on the pressure-sensitive adhesive, in-mould, shrink and wrap around labelling as well as flexible, glass, carton, metal and rigid plastic packaging segments.

Mark Bowman, MD of Colorgen in the UKHighlights of the conference included presentations by Ailsa Wingfield from Nielsen and Gareth Pearson, BMI Research. As the executive director of marketing and communication for Africa at Nielsen, Wingfield explained that it is important for brand owners and convertors alike to understand what consumers in Africa want.

She notes it is important to tailor FMCG products to their environment and understand how the consumer sees the product on the shelf, transports it home and consumes it. Unlike the retail environment in South Africa, retail in countries elsewhere on the continent often happens in complex trading environments such as open air markets, table tops, push carts and kiosks.

Her advice to companies serving consumers in Africa is to anticipate future developments in these markets. These advances include mobile payments and e-commerce, which both have the ability to disrupt the retail environment in Africa in the future.

Pearson is the CEO of BMI Research in South Africa. The information he presented clearly illustrated that local convertors and label printers have a vital role to play in FMCG markets in Africa. According to Pearson, recent mergers and acquisitions within the South African packaging market indicate that multinational packaging companies are targeting local businesses as a way into Africa.

Gordon Smith is the national packaging and export manager at Kemtek Imaging Systems‘Multinational customers are expanding in Africa with innovative, high-quality packaging. Demand for packaging is being driven by the megatrend of urbanisation, investments by global companies, a wealthier middle class and expanding retail markets.’

He concluded by noting that African and South African packaging industries can expect to see a growth in investments by private equity firms; more global players using South Africa as a base for continental expansion; and an increase in local companies narrowing the focus on their businesses on their core competencies.

The organiser, VDS Media, thanked its sponsors for supporting the conference. The sponsors were Afripack, HP Indigo & Kemtek, Paragon Inks, UPM Raflatac, Bordic, Pagemark Africa and Sun Chemical.

Other speakers at the first day of event, which was focused on packaging, included representatives from:

  • Stratcom
  • Nielsen
  • Wasteplan
  • Sappi
  • Sidel
  • Brand Union
  • Collotype Labels
  • Trempak
  • Kemtek and HP Indigo
  • Traceability Solutions

The second day was focused on labelling and featured representatives from:

  • BMI Research
  • Bordic
  • Colorgen
  • Masscash
  • UPM Raflatac South Africa
  • WWF
  • Flexo Research Africa
  • Taghleef Industries
  • Synergy Labels


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