Pack Expo East, PMMI’s biennial regional trade show and conference, featured a strong emphasis on innovation in packaging, making this year’s show an engaging experience that is sure to continue the momentum of the conference for years to come.

The event—which offered attendees from both the brand and manufacturing sides of packaging to mingle and exchange ideas about the future of packaging, automation and innovation—was held in Philadelphia, in the heart of the largest cluster of life sciences and CPG companies in the world. More than 6,000 packaging professionals attended the event to learn about what lies ahead for their industries; 400 exhibiting companies participated, too. .

“We are very excited about the future of Pack Expo East,” Jim Pittas, president and CEO, PMMI, said in a press release. “We are gaining momentum on this new show with both attendees and exhibitors. Walking the show floor, it was obvious that attendees are talking about the challenges they are facing, and exhibitors are providing them with solutions they are looking for.”

The highlight of the event was easily the “Packaging for the Last Mile” drone demonstration, which offered attendees a glimpse into the future of package delivery and explored the impact drone technologies will make on all market sectors of packaging. Drone delivery offers a next-generation challenge to packaging commercialization and manufacturing that has spawned lots of innovation in recent years. When the brands speak, manufacturers listen and answer in kind with new products and designs that speak to client needs.

In addition to the drone demonstration, the event also featured heavy doses of products and services for the life sciences market. As the demand for track and trace, just-in-time inventory systems and automation continues to increase, packaging companies are offering a number of interesting products that also give us a preview of what the brand experience might be like 10 years from now and beyond.

“The forecast for the packaging machinery market continues to be robust,” explains Jorge Izquierdo, vice president of market development at PMMI. “We anticipate growth in major market segments such as pharmaceuticals, as well as food and beverage. Factors such as population growth, growing demand for automation and machinery optimization, as well as a rise in e-commerce are fueling these developments.”

We started ChiefPackagingOfficer.com in 2015 because we felt that packaging was a “C-Level” conversation at any CPG, life sciences or retail business that uses packaging.

Nearly three years to the day later, attending Pack Expo East reassured us that our hypothesis was correct. The packaging industry continues to grow primarily because packaging is strategic and so important in the branding process. We look forward to continuing to cover changes and innovations in the packaging industry as me move further into the future.