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SPA Future Thinking at the Packaging for Retail Success Conference

Organised by Packaging News, the one day conference on the 7th November was an interesting journey into the world of retail and packaging.

The conference featured some interesting speeches from packaging industry experts. Terry Morgan (Market Development Director at DS Smith Packaging) spoke about the importance of designing packaging for the future, to off-set increases in food prices and to handle the changing retail environment, with convenience stores, discount retailers and online shopping. Top retailers were also present: Iceland, Wilkinson’s and Harrods all talked us through own label packaging re-launches; I wish I could try some of Harrods £750 olive oil with gold leaf. Julia Lowbridge from Danone, talked us through the launch of their new yogurt Danio. The product packaging challenged a lot of the norms, with large fruit imaginary on top of the pots and a pallet of colours rather than the tradition of one brand / one colour.

I think all at the conference would agree that one of the highlights was hearing from Fraser Doherty (from SuperJam). His inspirational story of building a Jam empire as a teenager taught the room that you can succeed against the odds, but also that a product needs clear packaging which communicates a clear and simple message to succeed in store; although I did love his first attempt with superhero themed pots, with super puns to match!

Most of the talk at lunch was about the delicious smoothies in dolphin like jugs, but also the exciting development in technology, as introduced by the Faraday Centre through the use of  augmented reality to take advantage of smart phones, thus making the packaging of products more engaging. For example Harrods demonstrated their heritage range, with packaging which used augmented reality to show customers the illustrious history of Harrods and its roots in food halls.

The Faraday Centre also looked to the future of retailing, I found the smart shelves which pass a current through your body to transmit product information to your smart phone, fascinating, if not a bit scary. Are these gimmicky fads or the future of packaging, the jury was definitely still out on this one.

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