headline press information

Date 23rd February 2012 / www.procarton.com
Title Positive outlook
Text Packaging made of cartonboard has excellent prospects for the future, says Roland Rex, President of Pro Carton, in an interview. And he has convincing arguments: recently cartons have amply demonstrated their innovation potential. For example, with regard to digital media. And cartonboard is virtually unbeatable in terms of utilising resources. We spoke to the President of Pro Carton in February on the markets and the future, the supply chain and consumer expectations in 2012.  
  How do you view the overall economic climate and how will it affect the European cartonboard and carton industry in your opinion?
Everyone concerned with forecasting the economic developments in Europe is having difficulties at present. There are many indicators that would suggest that the economies have again become somewhat sluggish in the core countries, but consumers seem to have a different opinion. Consumer spending remains unfaltering, at least for products of daily use. If anything, price-consciousness stands out, but this is a trend we have already observed over the past years.

What are the trends for cartons in the various market segments?
Now that the value chain for cartonboard packaging has returned to normal, the influx of orders and sales has reached a stable state of affairs for both cartonboard manufacturers and converters. Nonetheless, some areas will have to deal with specific challenges during the coming weeks and months: be it undesirable migration of printing inks into foods, or plain packaging for cigarettes.

How important do you feel is innovation in the field of cartonboard packaging and what are the drivers?
Packaging made of cartonboard is distinguished by permanent innovation in a number of application fields. This is also a main reason why Pro Carton sponsors an annual award for the "Most Innovative Carton". Next to the "Carton of the Year" it is this carton which attracts the most attention. The drivers for innovative carton packaging come from all areas. On the one hand these are the cartonboard manufacturers who continue to launch improved or new qualities, on the other, the converters who present new applications or solutions to market requirements as a result of creativity, technical expertise and innovative thinking.

What is the status quo regarding the migration of undesirable substances from printing inks into foods?
The innovative strength of our industry was able to provide carton solutions for safe food packaging within a short space of time, for example, the cartonboard manufacturers with inline barrier layers, but also the converters by applying specific "Good Manufacturing Practice". This shows that the carton packaging supply chain does indeed work, for the benefit of customers and the protection of our planet.

Do you see room for further improvement in the cooperation within the supply chain?
While every partner in the supply chain continuously improves his processes in terms of efficiency, costs and also sustainability, the most significant effect remains in improving processes between the parties involved. An excellent example is the last three years, where supply and demand were "artificially" unbalanced through individual actions and where the "hype" was followed by a dramatic downturn. It is only now, at the beginning of the year, that a balance has again been achieved. We have always had ups and downs, but the changes are coming at a faster rate and with increasing impact. And for those insufficiently prepared, this could lead to serious difficulties. Certainly a very good reason for better cooperation within the supply chain.

Where do you believe customer expectations are going? For example in the field of digital linking of packaging?
The expectations of customers are to have safe packaging in line with the trust and confidence in a product and at the same time offering all the benefits of sustainability. More than ever, cartons deliver. And cartons also offer unique opportunities for providing digital information in the growing link with packaging. This is also why Pro Carton will be focusing on the topic "Packaging in a Digital World" at this year's congress on the 18 and 19 April in Düsseldorf. The question as to the marketing value of packaging will also be answered there when the results of a study commissioned by Pro Carton at the end of last year will be presented. The markets change, cartons change with the market and keep gaining significance and market share due to their incomparable adaptability.

Roland Rex, President Pro Carton

Roland Rex, President Pro Carton

Roland Rex, President Pro Carton




Suzanne McEwen +43 1 218 6918 mcewen@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.