In the past two years, folding cartons have experienced significant growth in certain sectors such as pharmaceuticals and food. Will this trend continue in 2024?


The demand for folding cartons is expected to grow in several end-use sectors, including the "on-the-go" food, pharmaceutical, and beverage industries. The growth in the "eating on the move" sector is driven by ongoing urbanization, busy lifestyles, more professional women and single-parent households, as well as time pressures.


Simultaneously, the growth in the pharmaceutical market is partly due to regulatory changes and partly due to increased consumer health awareness, especially since the pandemic, which has significantly increased the demand for pharmaceutical packaging.


Folding cartons are one of the most sustainable forms of packaging. Are more brand owners opting for folding cartons as a more sustainable solution?


The demand for sustainable packaging remains a major driving force for growth, with many brand owners committed to achieving sustainability goals, such as achieving 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. The shift towards using paper instead of plastic is increasing, and there is a growing number of government regulations and legislation on non-recyclable materials. Sustainability encompasses the entire packaging industry and requires multi-party collaboration.


Whether as an industry or as a society, we need to maintain cooperation and communication. Education is a crucial part of this; we need to educate consumers better on waste sorting and recycling and improve collaboration not only within the packaging industry but also with waste management companies. This is a process, but BEP Packaging has made significant progress.


What are the biggest challenges facing the packaging and printing industry, and how should the industry respond to sustain growth and prosperity?


Over the past year, our industry has faced significant pressures due to global economic instability, challenges in the global supply chain, labor shortages, and energy crises. Looking ahead to the next year, we hope these challenges can be addressed, but labor shortages may be a persistent challenge. Many businesses are still struggling to find skilled machine operators or retain existing employees.


This is a challenge but also an opportunity. We can make this process smoother and faster. The industry has been adapting and evolving, and we will continue to do so while helping our customers achieve operational excellence.


What other trends can we expect for folding cartons in 2024 and beyond?


Three main trends are expected for 2024 and beyond - zero-defect packaging, automation, and digitization.


Zero-defect packaging will continue to be a non-negotiable factor. Manufacturers have a responsibility to provide completely defect-free packaging within short delivery times. Poor quality products cannot be sold as they lead to waste, higher costs, and decreased profitability for processors.


Factory automation will remain a focus. With shorter operating times, automation is needed to achieve quick job changes. The ongoing challenge of skilled labor shortages and increasing productivity will drive further automation solutions. In the near future, more companies will have to provide solutions to meet the latest market demands, including robots.


Meanwhile, digitalization will continue to permeate the entire supply chain of the industry. Cloud-based reporting integrated into equipment's quality assurance monitoring systems will enable processors to receive real-time data.


The future of folding cartons in 2024 and beyond looks promising with a focus on sustainability, efficiency, and innovation driving the industry forward.