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Packaging exhibition helps industry connect, boost growth

An image of Specialised Exhibitions' portfolio director Mark Anderson

MARK ANDERSON If one looks at what Propak's exhibitors are launching and/or showcasing over the three days of the show, it speaks directly to the event's three theme topics

20th October 2023

By: Nadine James

Features Deputy Editor


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Packaging and labelling trade exhibition Propak Cape is the “essential gathering place to discover all industry stakeholders need to know about the latest advancements and solutions that could benefit productivity, streamline business and improve profitability”, says Specialised Exhibitions, a division of Montgomery Group.

If Propak Cape, which is taking place from October 24 to 26 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, has any bearing on industry perception, then the industry is in a “generally positive” space, notes portfolio director Mark Anderson.

“Just under 200 exhibitors have signed up for the sold-out exhibition, and if we’d had more space, more would have participated. “While many of our exhibitors are based in the Western Cape, there are many others that are prepared to cover the costs involved in exhibiting in a different province, primarily because they know that Propak Cape can help to grow their business.

“So, from our exhibition perspective, the industry has been positive and continues to be positive.”

The event organisers are expecting a good turnout, based on the trends observed at other shows across its portfolio, which have demonstrated increased visitor attendance. “This has been the trend post Covid-19.”

Anderson adds that, globally, across all the Montgomery Group exhibitions, people seem to prefer face-to-face attendance, as opposed to hybrid and online offerings, which have become more common in a post-Covid-19 world.

In addition to enabling in-person interaction and knowledge sharing, trade exhibitions play a role in bolstering and growing economic sectors. “There is an irreplaceable value of physical exhibitions and face-to-face business events in creating platforms to bring people together, driving economic and business growth.”

Anderson avers that Propak Cape provides “an excellent opportunity” for both large and small suppliers of machinery, products and services aimed at the packaging, food processing, plastics, print, labelling, and related industries to connect with thousands of prospective buyers and purchasing influencers.

He cites feedback from exhibitors pointing to the event’s influence and relevance, with on-site sales, the generation of quality sales leads, connecting with potential customers and industry contacts, and brand awareness, being some of the reported benefits of exhibiting at Propak Cape.

Further, when considering the knock-on effects of the improvements and savings achieved, owing to attendees employing new technologies, solutions and services observed and/or discussed at the event, “the importance of Propak Cape cannot be underestimated”.

Staying on Trend

“If we look at what our exhibitors are launching and/or showcasing over the three days of our show, it speaks directly to our three theme topics,” says Anderson, with the themes being: New Products & Innovation, Sustainability and Automation.

“Our research shows that visitors attend exhibitions to source new products and to see the latest innovations, which is why we chose this theme for Day 1. Sustainability is a hot topic across all the sectors; hence it being selected for Day 2. Automation, meanwhile, is where the industry is heading, which is why this theme was included for Day 3.”

Anderson notes that, while there is no visible change to the show each day, the organiser is supporting these theme days through its marketing and communications programme.

For example, for Sustainability Day, the first 500 visitors will each receive a Spekboom plant. Anderson explains that roughly 120 Spekboom plants can “completely offset” one’s personal carbon footprint, which aligns nicely with the day’s theme.

Further, the event’s Seminar Theatre will host daily free-to-attend seminars and, generally, the seminars are aligned with the theme of the day while covering additional important industry topics.

Other key trends, such as rapid urbanisation, better health and environmental awareness, the introduction of artificial intelligence, other technologies, factors driving consumer behaviour, and their effects on the industry, will be addressed.

Youth Participation

Specialised Exhibitions cites an industry report by market research company Mordor Intelligence, which notes that the South African Packaging Industry is expected to grow from $10.35-billion in 2023 to $12.91- billion by 2028, at a compound annual growth rate of 4.52%, with growth being driven by an increasing number of young consumers and increasing demand for consumer goods.

With the youth demographic driving growth and with the need to incorporate youth and new entrants into the industry to ensure its longevity, youth participation will add value to the event.

To that end, students are allowed to attend the event by prior arrangement, with Anderson explaining that Propak Cape is an opportunity to showcase the industry to students whose studies align with the industries and sectors represented at the show, as well as those who are considering studies in these areas.

“Students can see practically what they are studying theoretically. “These students will be future prospective employees or industry entrepreneurs and it is a great opportunity for them to see the industry in action, with the displays and live demonstrations of machinery and equipment.”

He adds that Specialised Exhibitions seeks to support youth development in the packaging and related industries and has been a sponsor of the Institute of Packaging SA’s Student Gold Pack Awards for many years.

“The winners of this year’s Student Gold Pack Awards will be showcased at Propak Cape with display cabinets positioned alongside the premier/media lounge.”

A scannable QR code will be placed in the display cabinets, enabling visitors to download the Student Gold Pack winners’ brochures, where they can view details of the project briefs in each category and all the finalists and winners.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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