Unpacking the effects of Brexit

IFE_1591Whilst we don’t know yet what long term impact the Brexit vote will have on the food & drink packaging industry, we have seen some of its influence thanks to the widely publicised dispute between Tesco and Unilever on pricing fluctuations and have watched companies try to predict the changes to labelling regulations.

Ahead of Pro2Pac next week, leading industry experts and suppliers have revealed their business predictions for the year ahead and shared their tips for tackling the challenges that lie ahead for the post-Brexit packaging industry.

Barry Turner, British Plastics Federation, Plastic & Flexible Packaging Group Director says the full impact of Brexit on the packaging industry is yet unknown but he believes the recyclability of packaging will remain a major challenge to the industry.

“At present, no one is sure what Brexit will actually look like and what that will mean for EU nationals presently working in businesses in the UK. The sooner this uncertainty can be resolved, the better for all,” he says.

“The final form of the circular economy package will help clarify future design priorities but the requirement for higher packaging recycling, which is an inevitable outcome of the Brexit process, comes at a time when household recycling in England last year fell back. Finding ways to help stimulate household recycling against a backdrop of slower economic growth is going to be challenge to all in the sector.”

Mark Laverton, Director, Atlas Packaging (Pro2Pac Stand N850) is optimistic for the year ahead, despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. He puts successIFE_2242 down to ‘good packaging done well’ and envisages significant growth in the ecommerce and mail order packaging sector.

“In a highly competitive food and drink market, we continue to see customers striving to make their products more appealing and stand out from the crowd. This is where good packaging can make a massive difference if done properly.

“Having good functional packaging that arrives safely, has a wow factor and can be recycled easily is a must. Following years of investment in both our facility and our staff, we are very well positioned to move with an ever changing market place,” he adds.

Dick Searle, Chief Executive, The Packaging Federation, explains that the packaging industry has always demonstrated resilience and determination to take on challenges and says these important qualities need be maintained. Dick will share his views on how the industry will fare post-Brexit during what’s sure to be a heated lunchtime debate on the first day of Pro2Pac, Monday 20 March.

“As for much of industry, Brexit will represent a major challenge for the packaging sector. Significant issues for us will be labour and skills availability (some 15% of our workforce are non-UK nationals), rising input costs – particularly most raw materials and energy  –  and uncertainty about regulation.

“We are a hugely innovative, well invested, high productivity and fast reacting industry which is at the centre of myriad supply chains. The last thing we need is more cost, restrictions and barriers to trade dumped onto us.”

Pro2Pac is the UK’s only dedicated food and drink packaging event and is taking place 20-22 March at ExCeL London an exciting line-up of high profile industry experts will debate some of the major challenges facing the industry in a series of free to attend briefings and panel debates, and over 120 specialist companies will showcase the latest in packaging trends and new products.

Readers of Fresh Hospitality are invited to register for free (saving the £25 on-the-door fee) via www.pro2pac.co.uk

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