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Exhibitor Case Study | FlexPET on PCD Milan, evolving consumer behaviours, innovation trends, and packs of the future

FlexPET started in 2010 as a subsidiary of Frapak Packaging BV. Frapak has specialised in the distribution and production of Packaging since 1978. FlexPET specialises in the production of PET packaging in three locations in Europe; mainly for the Cosmetics, Food and Pharmaceutical markets.

Why did you choose to exhibit at PCD Milan 2022 and how will it help develop your business?

With our existing business in Italy and the great feedback from Easyfairs in Birmingham, London and Paris it was more than logical to join the new PCD in Milan. Mainly, so we can easily touch base with our existing customers, show our latest innovations as well as connecting with new prospects.

What are you most excited about for the 2022 event in May? Are you presenting/ launching anything at the show?

First of all, we look forward meeting our customers again in person after almost 2 years of zoom meetings! In our opinion, nothing beats a real face-to-face conversation including a table full of samples. With the world completely locked down for 2 years, FlexPET has not been sitting still and are ready to showcase our latest developments on sustainability and packaging design.

What innovation trends do you think we can expect to see in the packaging industry in the next 12 months?

There will be a huge focus on sustainability, specifically the recyclability of raw material as well as CO2 reduction. FlexPET contributes in this direction with developments like mono-material packs, lightweight versions of packaging & refill solutions. However, we see developments with packaging suppliers around the globe and we wonder if that is the right way to go? For instance the “paper bottle” which actually consist of 3 materials, paper – PET inside – PP closure, which is something that seems to be gaining traction.

What’s been the impact of sustainability on NPD and packaging design?

Sustainability has come up more and more as an important extra parameter besides things like price / appeal / functionality etc. but I don’t think this has slowed down NPD, if anything… it has resulted in more SKUs for our customers as they have eco options or Vegan options for example!

The customer profile is ever-changing (e.g. people are more likely to buy products that are environmentally friendly). How do you think the customer profile will evolve through time? And how important is it to evaluate your current customer?

Customers and consumers are learning quickly what is expected and needed as new standards for packaging. In the beginning, we saw that bottles produced from recycled PET were generally not accepted by the consumer as the package has a greyish tint to it making it “less” attractive to the consumer. Over time, however, we have come to see this accepted as the new standard and something that consumers actually look out for so they have a visible sign that they are buying a pack made from recycled material… not just a marketing claim! 

One difficulty has been that, our customers still have to run a profitable business. Therefore, price differences between recycled material and virgin material can have a huge impact especially if the consumer is not prepared to pay for this difference, i.e. the increased costs associated to recycled material bottles have been a sticking point. However, we work closely with our customers to keep the dialogue going and find the best solution for their business based on cost and the green impact.

What do you see as the key challenges for your sector?

To offer sustainable solutions at affordable prices. Another challenge, which has to be addressed quickly, is food-approval for recycled PP and HDPE to make these materials more widely useable.

What do you think the future of perfume & cosmetic packaging will look like? To you, what’s the ‘ideal’ pack of the future?

I am sure we will see more recycled materials, more mono material packaging & refill packaging combined with the look and feel of luxury!

And finally, what are you most looking forward to this year?

We look forward meeting our customers in person again!

Interview with Ivo Maasdam, Director of FlexPET.

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