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Four Emerging Paperboard Packaging Trends

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According to reporting this week (Aug. 13, 2018) by Packaging Digest (PD), Oak Brook, Ill., USA,there are four paperboard packaging trends that became obvious to PD in an article describing judging of the annual North American Paperboard Packaging Competition, managed by the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC), Springfield, Mass., The winners of the competition will be announced at PPC’s fall meeting to be held October 24-26 in Atlanta, Ga., USA.

PD's article gave a peek at what’s new, including:

1. Digital Integration

There has been a dramatic rise in the number of digitally-converted cartons in recent years. High quality digital printing is coming to paperboard packaging as more than a trend according to one PPC judge cited in the report. The digital medium might become a standard used for short and medium runs of packaged goods.

Also notable were digital enhancements in manufacturing made very recently which first surfaced in the competition as of this year.

PPC gave an example cited by PD "Liquor giant Brown Forman asked TPC Printing and Packaging to create personalized Old Forester bourbon cartons that would be gifts for graduates of its Executive Leadership Program. The cartons were printed black (traditional technology) and then digitally enhanced with foil and polymers ranging from five to 120 microns in height. The most exciting design element? Each carton was foiled with a different executive’s name. TPC was able to do this efficiently in-line, and one after another."

PPC told PD that their judges feel digital finishing enhancements are what is likely to become popular in upcoming years.

2. Everyday Upscaling

PD's article suggests that paperboard packaging designers could make creative application of premium branding so as to grab consumer attention and excitement, according to the report.

Two examples cited by PD from entries this year are:
  • A soft-touch coating on a six-pack beer carton.
  • Kellogg’s Extra Creations black: a gable-top cereal carton with matte varnish, spot high-gloss coating with embossing, and gold foil stamping.
3. Multi-Designs

In one example cited in the report developed by WestRock (Norcross, Ga.), a unique structural design used enables one paperboard entry to effectively be able to contain ice.

Judges cited some other examples to PD, such as a Jägermeister carton that will glow so as to illuminate Halloween parties, a rigid paperboard ferris wheel being used as a showpiece for cosmetics, and several packages that even use virtual reality.

4. Cannabis Containers

With ongoing federally tolerated state-level legalization or decriminalization of recreational and marijuana in over half of the U.S., there is now what PD views as entirely legitimate growth potential for paperboard packaging in an expanding market of products containing THC, the primary chemical in recreational marijuana.

This past year, the top award went to a unique cannabis carton. Marijuana containers in the contest are reportedly demonstrating paperboard’s structural and graphic strengths for branding due to being a compatible packaging material ideal for soft-touch coating, foil stamping, and spot varnishing. Some of the entries even had effective sealing and locking (for child-proofing) that were constructed exclusively from paperboard.

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