Broadening our horizons

9 September 2005

The European look to this issue is more than cosmetic. Although the "Europeanisation", and in some cases globalisation, of the supply chain in many industries has been apparent for some time, it is now becoming the norm in many areas. And packaging is no different.

Pan-European brands are now much more common than they were in the relatively recent past, with influences flowing backwards and forwards across the Channel and across borders in mainland Europe.

The UK is still a powerful force in terms of design, innovation and technology, but the influence of the rest of Europe has grown as brand owners and retailers have taken the multinational route.

To that end, Packaging Today will, over the coming issues, evolve its editorial to better reflect the current state-of-play, with more news and views from the European packaging sector being covered.

Complementing this will be even more in-depth feature material to provide extensive coverage of all the major areas of interest. We trust you will approve.

Among all the interesting news coverage in this issue, perhaps two stories stand out more than most for novelty value. Turning first to the "are you serious?" category, a Welshman has started an enterprise to sell bottles of Welsh air to expat men and women of Harlech – at £24 a bottle.

This is not a new concept - in the past a Swiss company canned Alpine air – the difference here is the packaging. No tinplate can or cheap bottle for John Gronow. He has opted for richly engraved bottles in a lush presentation case "something people will want to keep and put amongst their cut glass". This really is a case where the packaging is the product.

The second is Russell Cowburn's invention which can identify each individual sheet of board, card or paper by its unique "fingerprint". It is not expensive and he is adamant the inherent "identity code" is impossible to replicate. Seems too good to be true, but given that he is professor of nanotechnology at London's Imperial College, we have no reason to doubt him. The implications for anti-counterfeiting applications are obvious; the only question is who will be the first to take the technology on-board.

Gerry Duggin

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