Between a brew and a hard place

The SABMIller/AB-InBev deal seems to go through. This is great but will obviously trigger a few consequences and produce both relative winners and losers. The packaging industry doesn’t necessary have to be one of the latter but it will definitely make things a bit more challenging.

balance

Now this consolidation of the industry is in combination with a micro/craft brewery trend that grows seemingly all over the world creates a market place with two extremes.

The polarisation of the field will give the packaging industry a headache. On the one side we have a few really large customers with an impressive leverage and with logistical and geographical demands never seen before. On the other side we have the really small but rapidly rising producers with limited reach that each demands very few but special bottles/cans/kegs at the time.

These opposing customer demands will have to be addressed and solutions must and will be found. The craft breweries are growing and they have aggregated formed into a significant and fast growing market for kegs and bottles and an even faster growing number of cans. It would be a mistake to not support them with suitable packaging solutions that meets their needs. Even if all the action seems to be in the other end of the field right now…

QR codes are just sooo 2013

I think we can all agree on that it is getting difficult to read the label of almost anything you find in your fridge. There is simply not a lot of printable space on the average pack. As a producer you have a formidable challenge to inspire and inform the consumer on how to enjoy the contents. Any product manager could talk for hours about a product but now you need to minimize the font size and be fast to the point.

LabelThat’s boring, so all of us who are not in corn flakes or milk are following the advances in printable technologies, printed electronics, nfc, rfid, etc. that will enable us to communicate with consumers using the packaging. For instance through a smart phone. This is a busy corner in the R&D world with quite a lot of really exciting developments to follow.

While waiting for a serious breakthrough on the printed electronics area we are for example using QR codes to communicate more complex ideas. That works fine with a smart phone but only if you as a  broadcaster think of content and it is not enough to direct a consumer to the company web site…

ClickPaper

Then clickable paper entered the stage offering just about the same but now without the rather massive and bulky QR code. Clickable paper technology offers recognition of any printed surface and when activated, that is pointed at with a smartphone, takes you to a set destination or two.
It is an improvement and we are getting there step by step. These are very exciting times but I would still keep that appointment with the optician, at least for now.