23 February 2017



Andy Barnetson Director of Packaging Affairs Confederation of Paper Industries

 Can you point to any particular innovations with paper that have had an impact on brands and their products?

Specific case study: a corrugated packaging redesign resulted in a recyclable and cost-saving logistics solution for leading online fresh food ingredients supplier HelloFresh. The customer was searching for a sustainable packaging solution that reflected its energetic brand image while protecting the fragile contents inside. By collaborating with HelloFresh to establish a comprehensive understanding of its supply chain’s primary targets, challenges and brand aspirations, the corrugated supplier created a customised chilled ingredient case which offers space savings and greater protection during transit, inspired by the bold colours of the quality fresh produce that the client delivers.

Industry devotes time and resource to understanding the customer requirements, so we can design a box that is the optimum size and shape, reducing unnecessary wastage.  In a separate particular case study, a discussion with the customer led to a change in orientation (as simple as 2x3 rather than 3x2) and 7% material saving per box. 

 From a brand perspective, where are the current pressure points for the use of paper as a packaging material?

Paper packaging meets the customers’ demands of flexibility and efficiency. It is reliable and simple, and suppliers can provide as few or as many boxes as needed. It can be readily tailored to fit any shape or size and suit the rapidly changing demands of the supply chain. Paper packaging continues to evolve for better efficiencies and innovation.

How important has sustainability become for brands that consume paper as a component of their packaging requirements?

Supply chains continue to be scrutinised in an effort to drive down costs and meet environmental objectives. Recycled materials are becoming essential to what retailers want. With a recycling rate of over 80%, corrugated packaging has the best UK recycling record of any packaging material.

Tonne for tonne, cardboard packaging is stronger today than it was 10 years ago. A constant improvement in process technology has seen a 10% reduction in board weight (2004-15) with no loss of strength. 

Reductions in energy use have contributed to a 16% reduction in carbon footprint (2005-14)

How are brands using paper and board to deliver packaging technologies that meet consumer demands?

Whether packaging is required for air conditioning manufacturers and bicycle firms to food ingredients suppliers and drinks companies, brands are turning to corrugated’s flexibility and ability to create bespoke, sustainable and stand-out transit and shelf ready packaging solutions. The improved efficiency and greater flexibility offered by corrugated is vital for all businesses.

What does the future hold for paper as brands continue to innovate with their packaging?

New technological advances have enabled papers to be made stronger, meaning that lighter weights can be used for the same roles. Combined with novel fluting grades, this makes for significant space savings in transit and storage. Cutting edge printing equipment also offers innovative solutions for display packaging and personalisation, while Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) capable packaging is no problem for corrugated, as RFID tags can be glued easily to the material.

Any other comments you would like to make?

Corrugated is the ideal supply chain partner for the modern, rapidly evolving, retail environment.  We bring opportunities for space saving and logistical efficiency, as well as superb environmental credentials.   As society starts to embrace the Circular Economy, the future for paper packaging is very positive.



• The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) is the leading trade association representing the UK’s Paper-based Industries, comprising recovered paper merchants, paper and board manufacturers and converters, corrugated packaging producers, and makers of soft tissue papers. 

• CPI represents an industry with an aggregate annual turnover of £6.5 billion, 25,000 direct and more than 100,000 indirect employees. 

• CPI corrugated promotes a sustainable and renewable material, more than 80% of which is recycled.

• For facts on the UK’s Paper-based Industries please visit: http://www.paper.org.uk.  

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