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New Season of Packaging Training Courses

Posted in Anti-Counterfeiting, Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Design Cognition News, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Events, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Marketing, Materials, Medical Devices, Safety, Technology, Training, Uncategorized, cost-optimisation on August 27th, 2014 by Chris Penfold – Be the first to comment
creative brain - opening

Open up your mind to new possibilities

By popular demand, we are pleased to announce a new season of packaging-related training courses starting in October.

The first will be Bar Coding & Mass Serialisation, which will take place on 14th October.

Other courses have been scheduled and are presently being developed, including Plastics Injection Moulding and the Packaging of Pharmaceuticals and you can find out about all of them and others on our Training page by following this link: Training Courses.

As always, all of these courses can be run as bespoke events at your own premises, if that would suit you better. As an international training provider, we are willing to consider running events anywhere in the world.

Why not give us a call (+44 115 846 1914) to talk through your own particular circumstances and needs, or drop an email to training@designcognition.com).

All of these courses can be run as bespoke events at your own premises – See more at: http://www.designcognition.com/training/#sthash.gMdIGbAF.dpuf
All of these courses can be run as bespoke events at your own premises – See more at: http://www.designcognition.com/training/#sthash.gMdIGbAF.dpuf

Pharmaceutcial Packaging Challenges – What are yours?

Posted in Business News, Design Cognition News, Government, Healthcare & Pharma, Medical Devices, Opinion, Technology on July 29th, 2014 by Chris Penfold – 9 Comments
New Challenges in Pharmaceutical Packaging sector

New Challenges in Pharmaceutical Packaging sector

With an ageing population and the growth of emerging economies across the world, the pharmaceutical sector is booming. Research business IMS predicts that the global pharmaceutical industry will reach sales of as much as $1.2tn by 2017 – representing annual growth of 3%-6% and, crucially, a growing market for pharmaceutical packaging suppliers and contract packers.

Yet it is a market that brings particular challenges, and particular opportunities, to those packaging suppliers and packers operating within it, not least the regulatory environment, which is complex and becoming more so. New regulations – notably the EU Falsified Medicines Directive, which requires every individual pack to carry a unique serial number – are posing new challenges to the supply chain both for product and packaging.

Chris Penfold, CEO of Design Cognition, along with a number of other industry experts recently took part in a Packaging News and Essentra roundtable discussion looking at the wide range of issues facing players in the pharmaceutical packaging segment.

You can find a Chris Penfold discusses pharmaceutical packagingmore in-depth transcript of the discussion here:

Packaging News – Tough Talking – Pharmaceutical Packaging

or a short video ‘taster’ by clicking on the photo of Chris to take you to the YouTube video.

If you would like help and advice on any of these or other issues further and would like to contact Chris, please send an email via enquiries@designcognition.com or via phone on +44 (0)115 846 1914.

Pack To The Future 3 – ready for ‘take off’

Posted in Academia, Design, Environmental Issues, Events, Innovation, Materials, Recycling, Technology, Training, Uncategorized on February 9th, 2013 by Chris Penfold – 13 Comments
Pack To The Future 3 Flyer

Pack To The Future 3 Flyer

As many of you may know, as well as running Design Cognition, I am Chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society (based in Nottingham UK) and in that role, my main focus again this year is to entice more of you, our valued members, to take part in events and also to encourage ‘new blood’ into the industry.

By popular demand we are pleased to announce the THIRD  in our very successful PACK TO THE FUTURE  series of collaborations between academia and industry to explore insights into the changing global landscape impacted by issues such as Global Warming and water & oil depletion that will affect consumer demand and some of the exciting emerging technologies that will enable us to adapt & thrive.

We are pleased to be working with Loughborough University Design School on this occasion and as previously have a fantastic line-up of leading edge thinkers & ‘doers’ with which to ‘whet your appetites’. This time topics will include:

Explaining the Future – Peak Oil, Peak Water & Climate Change

Printed electronics in packaging

LumeJet – photonic imaging technology

Please make sure that you book early to this FREE event to avoid disappointment, as both previous events have been heavily oversubscribed!!!!

All are welcome, members and non-members, but pre-registration is essential – OR  drop me an email if you have any questions: chris@designcognition.com

We’ve also got other fantastic events lined-up later in the year, in which you could participate in a number of different ways and at a number of different levels – it’s up to you how far you want to get involved.

Much of it will be FREE and could directly benefit you personally and your business.

You may want to participate yourself, or you know someone else that could be interested. Either way, I’m looking for partners and I’d love to hear from you. The aim of the whole exercise is to help raise the profile of packaging but also to facilitate the integration of academia and industry for everyone’s benefit. So this is applicable to:

Students – who may want to learn & enhance career options

Universities – looking for business avenues/partnerships to help commercialise their ideas

Product development companies, packaging suppliers & design agencies – wanting to keep up with latest technology & also identify high calibre students for job placements & opportunities

Come along and listen to some exciting & leading-edge talks from the university & from the packaging design industry. Network with industry & academic experts – with various table-top demonstrations, discuss your design projects in an informal atmosphere and get practical mentoring help & advice.

Some of the previous highlighted topics have included:

Smartphone technology & how it can enhance the consumer experience

Using packaging technology to tackle counterfeiting

University research into brand design

Display technology for packing applications

Design of packaging for reuse / recycling

You can find out more about this and other East Midlands Packaging Society events on our ‘ning’ site:

East Midlands Packaging Society website

and also on our LinkedIn Group & Facebook Pages:

EMPS LinkedIn Group

EMPS Facebook page

So whether in academia or business – You decide how you want to get involved, which could be as a speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, trainer or as a participant – how could it best benefit yourself? I really do think that ‘everyone’s a winner’ with this. More details to follow in future blogs.

If you’ve got any other ideas yourself, let me know.

Chris Penfold

Chairman – East Midlands Packaging Society

chris@designcognition.com

00 44 115 846 1914

The making of Plastiki – turning plastic packaging waste into resource

Posted in Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Events, Innovation, Materials, Recycling, Technology, Uncategorized on August 13th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 6 Comments

Here’s how ‘Eco Warrior’ and ‘Gaia Capitalist’ David de Rothschild made his catamaran ‘Plastiki’ out of recycled PET bottle packaging -- turning waste into resource and into an (almost) completely recyclable boat, that he then sailed from San Francisco to Sydney.

You can read the related article I wrote earlier today here: Sailing through the Plastiki soup in search of Paradise

Chris Penfold

Sailing through the Plastiki soup in search of paradise?

Posted in Business News, Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Events, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Recycling on August 13th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 10 Comments
Plastiki - David de Rothschild's yacht made of recycled PET bottles

Plastiki - David de Rothschild's yacht made of recycled PET bottles

As we have discussed in previous posts, there is a huge and ever-increasing mountain of rubbish growing in the middle of the Pacific, like a giant festering ’soup’, much of which consists of plastic packaging waste. This has had a massive knock-on affect in the  form of polluted beaches on islands throughout the South Pacific. See our previous article: Great Pacific Garbage Patch article

David de Rothschild is a man on a mission. The offspring of the wealthy banking family, he is one of a new breed of environmental crusaders and entrepreneurs that some are calling ‘Gaia capitalists’. ‘Gaia’ in mythology was the primal Greek goddess of the Earth and aptly a ‘gyre’ in oceanography is any large system of rotating ocean currents (source: Wikipedia).

To highlight the Pacific issue and raise it’s profile in mainstream media, De Rothschild decided to use his family’s high profile  (& money) to build a yacht made entirely of recycled plastic bottle packaging, which he named ‘Plastiki’ (making reference and tribute to the late Thor Heyerdahl’s papyrus Kon-tiki raft which crossed the Pacific back in 1947). Over a four month period he sailed this 60ft catamaran from San Francisco to Sydney, where he landed last week. But his exploits are no shallow ploy to fill aimless days with fun and adventure.

De Rothschild and his ‘Gaia’ friends are driven by a combination of social conscience and economic pragmatism, seeking a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way we live and desecrate our planet. They espouse a new form of capitalism that factors in the environment and social wellbeing as a cost. It considers protecting the environment not only as a moral issue but as a set of design challenges to correct inefficiencies that make the capitalist system unsustainable. Waste, for example, is considered the result of inadequate thinking. If you are smarter about it, and create products that work properly, then you shouldn’t have to throw anything away at the end – should you? The group include Chad Hurley (33) who with his co-founder, sold YouTube to Google for $1.6Bn and has since ploughed some of his fortune into the Green Products Innovation Institute and Jeffrey Skoll, worth $2.4Bn, who wrote the business plan for eBay and has set up the Skoll Foundation to encourage ’social entrepreneurs’ to play a greater role in developing a better world (source: The  Sunday Times).

These are ‘game changers’, who see solutions where others see problems – a new entrepreneurial revolution – one of collaboration something that de Rothschild calls ‘Planet 2.0′. So I feel that we will be hearing a lot more from this ‘band of brothers’ in the future. They mean to ‘rattle some cages’, get us all to think differently and make a real impact by influencing things at ‘the top’. They have a point! Can we really carry on the way we are? For a really ’sustainable future’, for our children and their children’s sakes, things have to change a lot quicker.What do you think?

Chris Penfold

Fizz Pop Bang! – Wine bottle Corks – the counter argument

Posted in Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Recycling on July 23rd, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 1 Comment
Traditional wine bottle cork packaging

Traditional wine bottle cork packaging

There’s nothing quite like the ‘pop’ of a cork exploding from a wine bottle when it’s opened is there? For me, although screw thread or rubber closures do the job, they don’t quite have the same emotional appeal. Well, for those of you who have a similar opinion (94% of wine drinkers according to a survey of 1500), you will be pleased to hear that there is research available to backup the sustainable credentials of cork and its continued use in wine bottles.

According to the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR) there are 3 misconceptions regarding cork stoppers, that are highlighted in a recent Packaging News article:

1. Trees are NOT cut down in the production of cork – they are harvested in a sustainable manner. In fact harvesting, if managed properly, actually guarantees a trees survival.

2. Screw caps are NOT the most environmentally friendly closure, as cork is 100% natural and renewable and apparently uses 10 times less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than plastic stoppers and 24 times less than screw caps.

3. Corked wine is (allegedly) is NO MORE of an issue with natural cork than tainitng is with other closure systems (although this has been very carefully worded by APCOR).

You can read the full article on the Packaging News website.

You could also check out the campaign website www.ilovenaturalcork.co.uk

Chris Penfold

Medical packaging & devices go greener

Posted in Design, Environmental Issues, Government, Healthcare & Pharma, Materials, Recycling, cost-optimisation on July 15th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 2 Comments
Medical device packaging

Medical device packaging

Traditionally medical products, devices and their related packaging has been ’sidelined’ in much of the debate around the environment, where the major focus has been on retail products. However, it is estimated (Mulligan) that medical packaging contributes between 30% to 50% (or more) of the medical waste stream. There is a lot of work going on in the background, within the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, and further afield globally, as healthcare practitioners are put under increasing pressure to ‘go green’, become more ’sustainable’ and reduce their ‘carbon footprint’.  These initiatives go right to the core of their infrastructure, looking at everything from operating theatre furniture and equipment, through to medical devices and all related packaging.

However, there are wider ramifications, as it apparent that these sustainability initiatives will also enable huge cost benefits, improved regulatory compliance, and enhanced corporate social responsibility (CSR) when done correctly. So no pressure then ;-) !

On the face of it, this looks like a huge and daunting task, but with the aid of modern modelling techniques, such as those used by Walmart and by Marks & Spencer (M&S) in their ‘Plan A’, data and issues can be quite easily ‘chunked-down’ into manageable bite-size segments. This can help prioritisation and enable ‘quick wins’ on the highest ‘value creating’ initiatives.

It is important that suppliers and medical device manufacturers think about these sweeping changes and, if not already doing so, start to design and develop medical devices & healthcare packaging to meet these more stringent requirements. Next-generation packaging must be: 1) easy to manufacture; 2) meet stringent regulatory requirements; 3) meet the needs of distributors, healthcare institutions, and medical practitioners; and 4) minimize impact on the environment.

Mulligan talks in greater detail about all of this in an interesting article ‘Using a Life Cycle Analysis approach in medical packaging‘ recently published on the Healthcare Packaging website. Have a read and let us know what you think!

Chris Penfold

‘Best Before’ – Education Required!

Posted in Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Retailers on July 14th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 14 Comments

Food WasteAnother article from a major UK newspaper discussing the amount of food waste generated in the UK each day. 

Whilst I don’t agree with all of Philip’s points, he does make some very valid ones, particularly regarding the use of ‘best before’ and ‘use by’.  I believe the major problem is that a large majority of consumers not only misunderstand the meaning of and the differences between the two dates, but they have also come to rely totally on the date shown on the packaging, regardless of whether it’s a best before or a use by.  

This appears to lead to a lot of people throwing away food that has nothing wrong with it just because it has gone past it’s Best Before date.  They appear to have lost much of the ‘common sense’ previous generations had when it comes to recognising if food is still safe and edible.  I think a prime example of this is fruit and vegetables.  Walk into any supermarket in the country and you will find bags of potatoes with Best Before dates on and I know people who won’t use them after they’ve past that date and yet in reality the potatoes may sit happily in a dark cool cupboard for much longer and still be perfectly edible.   Whilst having dates on food items is very useful for the supermarkets as it helps staff with stock rotation it also creates massive amounts of waste. 

I know that the supermarkets say that they are doing everything they can to lessen the amount of food waste, but I believe they should be doing more.  They should be making a concerted effort to not only educate their customers on what the difference is between Best Before and Use By dates, but also in how to identify if food is still safe and edible.  At the moment all the big supermarket chains whether it be Sainsburys with Jamie Oliver or Waitrose with Heston and Delia appear to have some sort of a ‘celebrity’ chief encouraging their customers to try new and different foods and recipes – what about using some of these people to publicise what constitutes edible food and encouraging people to use the Best Before date for what it was originally intended – just a guide and not the strict date many people seem to interpret it as currently. (Jane Bear)

To read Philips full article just follow the link to the Telegraph

Consumer needs for active & intelligent food packaging?

Posted in Design, Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Innovation, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Retailers, Technology, Tweets, cost-optimisation on July 5th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 9 Comments
Apparently over 30% food produced is wasted before being eaten

Apparently over 30% of food produced is wasted before being eaten

It is interesting to read that the focus of active and intelligent (A&I) packaging has shifted from “manufacturer concerns” such as shelf-life and spoilage to “consumer concerns such as freshness, quality and information”, according to recently published research.

The report – ‘The Future of Active and Intelligent Packaging in Food and Drinks’ said that industry leaders had identified “freshness indicators as the most important innovations in the field over the next five years. A development on quality was listed as the next most important field followed by temperature and time indicators.”

However, with over 30% of all food that we buy being wasted, I would hardly call “shelf-life and spoilage” just “manufacturing concerns”. They are huge and global concerns for everyone, much of which is to do with education and the role that packaging can play to save costs for everyone in the supply chain (very important in the present economic situation) but also, ultimately, to help save the planet’s finite resources.

I’m not sure how the research was conducted, what questions were asked, or how they were asked, but apparently, consumers ranked “health, convenience, safety and enhancing product attributes” as the most important attributes that would make them willing to pay more for A&I-packaged products. “Longer shelf-life and packaging that communicates product information” were also seen as important, but consumers perhaps see these as a ‘given’ and wouldn’t necessarily want to pay extra for them.

It is my feeling that the growth of A&I packaging has been primarily technology-led, by developments in sensor technology including nanosensors and biosensors. This is highlighted by the emerging trend of the incorporation of scavenging functions into packaging with bottles, labels or films. This is great technology, but I’m not sure that most consumers would understand what these are or what benefits they bring and therefore they would certainly not want to pay for their incorporation.

It is true that “Delivery of efficiencies in the value chain and the opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate their products and boost their efficiency by reducing product losses” will be major benefits for manufacturers and retailers – but what about consumers? There is a huge consumer-led marketing ‘trick’ being missed here, especially when “High production costs, compliance with food safety regulations and consumer mistrusts” are being highlighted in the report as “potential challenges”.

So, it is good to see that the consumer perspective is taking greater prominence (to some degree at least), in the New Product developments (NPD) that will help meet consumer needs in the expanding drinks and ready-meals segments. I agree, that the current focus for A&I has to be on luxury goods initially, and that it will move to lower-end products as the technology becomes more widely available and costs fall, but maybe it’s time to take a large ’step back’, flip this around completely and look at it from a consumers’ point-of-view. It is up to us all to educate consumers – highlight the wider issues of food (and water) waste & spoilage, get them to understand the more holistic effects of these on their daily ‘wants & (real) needs’ and ultimately get their ‘buy-in’ to the ‘real’ benefits.
Chris Penfold

You can read the full article at www.foodproductiondaily.com

Many thanks to @PhilCyLaw in Brussels for bringing this to our attention via Twitter.

Definite Thinking Out Side Of The Box

Posted in Branding, Design, Marketing on April 14th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 5 Comments

Ok, ok, I know it’s a bad pun, but I like the thinking behind the new puma packaging.  It’s a bit of a shame it didn’t go further though.  The bag it’s self looks great, and if they had the right kind of shipper packaging what else would they need?  Why do they still need so much corrugated board?  Maybe that is more down to their consumer image and how they think the bags on their own might be viewed.

 There is obviously some thought gone into their plans though and I have to say, the idea that they can save on packaging just by folding their t-shirts one extra time is great.  Credit where credit is due. Jane Bear

If you would like to see their promotion video just visit  You tube or if you would prefer to read an article why not try this one in Packaging News