In late 2017 and early 2018, Flexo & Gravure Global asked several package print shops and converters about their opinion on the past year and their estimations on trends and challenges for 2018. In the third part of this survey, Gregory Bentley, managing director of Bentley Packaging talks about producing wrap-around labels for Coca-Cola, why flexo and gravure will continue to dominate the industry and why he suggest to substitute the term “offset” by “litho”.
As you look back on 2017, were you able to meet your own expectations and what surprised you the most about the printing and packaging industry and markets?
2017 was another year of innovation and progress within the industry as a whole, I was very pleased with the new innovations launched by Coca-Cola and myself in the area of wrap around labels. The Bow label continued to develop for Japan and the removable wrist band label success in Romania suggests there is still brand and consumer interest in print and labels.
The continuing consolidation of print companies through acquisition causes some uncertainty for the smaller printers but if managed well this can offer some benefits to the industry and streamline the tendering process for big companies. It surprises me to see the continued investment in print equipment and the growth of digital into higher volume print jobs.
As we move forward into 2018, what do you see as the largest trends or megatrends in the industry?
Packaging waste and reduction is going to be the single biggest challenge and trend. The growth of digital print will continue but the focus will all be on packaging and plastic waste and soon enough the market will be saturated with digital capacity and the cost for buyers will become more competitive as digital printers fight for the work. The development of late stage differentiation will continue and be the goal which drives much of the new technologies into the market, where need and technological capability align.
I believe that flexo and gravure will continue to dominate the industry and hope that the OEMs will work even harder to add value for converters through reduction of change over times and total cost of ownership.
What do you feel the industry should be most prepared for dealing with over the next 12 months?
Again this has to be packaging waste and questions about material recyclability and the impact of printing inks. Moves away from multi-layer flexible packaging will be part of the development pipelines of many converters and material suppliers to aid recycling. I suspect there will be more naming and shaming of brands and producers who are causing issues for recycling and not taking adequate steps to reducing, reusing or recycling their packaging materials.
Aligning producers, government, local councils and the consumer towards a suitable recycling system for most packaging materials is key to finding the right solution but this will require compromise from all sides and will take time.
That said I believe many consumers are still seeking newness and excitement from their products and packaging will play a huge role in this. I would love to see the industry remove the use of the term “offset” to describe “litho” printing, it’s a small thing but it drives me mad as the term “offset” means one thing yet thousands of apparent print experts use the term to describe something completely different, very odd and confusing for anyone entering the industry and learning about print techniques.
… to be continued.