Chicago will be the scene of innovation at its finest as Pack Expo International returns to McCormick Place Oct. 23-26. Pack Expo is the leading comprehensive packaging and processing show featuring 2,000-plus exhibitors covering 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space. Attendees represent nearly all vertically integrated industries, from food and beverage to life sciences, personal care, pet food and many other industries. Stakeholders in the packaging and processing industries will have access to modern technologies, education, expertise and targeted solutions to stay relevant with customer requirements.

Pack Expo Xpress is a digital only platform for those who cannot attend in person but still want to connect to the show. However, even the show’s organizers, PMMI Media Group, insist an in-person perspective is necessary.

“It is vital for the packaging and processing industries to come together and share innovations, connect with colleagues, hear from experts and see machinery-in-action — and Pack Expo International 2022 is the most efficient and effective way to do it all, offering solutions for over 40 vertical markets,” said PMMI. “No other event this year will showcase entire production line solutions and offer attendees everything needed to compete in a changing marketplace.”

New to the show

New to Pack Expo for 2022 is PACK to the Future, an interactive curated exhibit that guides attendees through a historical look at the packaging and processing industry and the impact it will have on the global future.

Pack to the Future includes historical equipment, materials and photographs spanning 250 years through the evolution of packaging and processing. Exhibit visitors will learn how the industry developed alongside civilization. Pack to the Future will be in the West Building at booth W20001.

To gain a forward-looking perspective on the industry, The Pack to the Future Stage will provide thought-provoking sessions on groundbreaking industry innovations and advancements. Visitors can listen to free presentations by industry experts on advances in pharmaceutical and cannabis packaging, wireless factory automation, sustainable alternatives, smart packaging, artificial intelligence and more. The Pack to the Future stage will be in the West Building at booth W20025.

Also new in 2022 is the Processing Innovation Stage at booth LU7130 in the Processing Zone. This exhibit will focus on the latest food and beverage processing breakthroughs. No additional registration is required for attendees.

If networking is the goal, Pack Match is a must-see for attendees. Debuting at Pack Expo International, the complimentary consultation resource provides attendees personalized one-on-one guidance to locate targeted solutions for their business.

“Whether an emerging brand or a well-established household name, Pack Match Advisors are available for 30-minute virtual consultations to connect attendees with the right suppliers,” according to PMMI.

To participate in Pack Match, attendees complete an online form to indicate their challenges and ensure they are matched with the appropriate industry expert. Once the match is made, attendees schedule a virtual meeting with their assigned Pack Match Advisor to receive non-biased guidance and recommended exhibitors that align to their business needs. Meetings will begin approximately three weeks prior to the show. Pack Match is assigned on a first come-first served basis as meeting spots are limited.

The Emerging Brands Summit is a one-day event featuring educational content and tabletop exhibits. This new program is aimed at founders and leaders of startup manufacturing companies looking to scale their brand to larger production through either in-house facility build out or outsourced relationships with contract manufacturers and packagers. Exhibitors will include packaging machinery, packaging materials, processing equipment, and contract manufacturing and packaging, PMMI said.

Finally, with an eye toward the next generation, Pack Expo International is hosting a Pack Challenge, a contest that brings high school students together for head-to-head competition that will decide which team can build the best print snack filler machine. PMMI will provide a kit designed specifically for the competition, along with an assembly (flight manual) to the qualifying teams. Each team will assemble the snack filler to the specifications at Pack Expo International and have the flexibility to be creative with add-ons. The winning school will be awarded $5,000 with an additional $2,000 split between individual team members. The other five teams in attendance will receive $1,000 for participating in the event. The teams will take the machines back to their school, providing future students the opportunity for hands-on, machine-building experience, PMMI said.

That’s logistics

Logistics is among the top 5 searches on the Pack Expo website; a new pavilion will take the topic from the search bar to the show floor.

Located in the North Building of McCormick Place, the new Logistics Pavilion at Pack Expo International will focus on the product journey from manufacturer to consumer. PMMI said attendees will find targeted solutions related to supply chain elements – warehousing, fulfillment, distribution logistics services and transportation providers.

Familiar favorites

Several pavilions are returning to Pack Expo International for 2022.

The Package Printing Pavilion in the South Building of McCormick Place features digital printing and converting, labeling, coding and marking technologies.

The Containers and Materials Pavilion is the place to learn more about how the industry is responding to trends such as sustainability, recyclability, e-commerce and consumer convenience. Located in the West Building, it is a destination for companies looking to refresh a brand, launch new products, broaden appeal and attract attention, according to PMMI.

The Reusable Packaging Pavilion highlights sustainable packaging solutions to help reduce waste, cut costs and gain supply chain efficiency. Attendees can explore reusable transport packaging products and services and see innovative reuse solutions from more than 30 exhibitors. Reusable Packaging Pavilion will be in the Upper Lakeside area at booths LU6700 – LU6999.

It’s difficult enough to find new workers; continuing education is an effective strategy for employers who want to keep valuable team members. The PMMI U Workforce Development Pavilion, located in the West Hall Concourse, is a one-stop-shop for resources to strengthen and grow an existing workforce. Schools will present mechatronics, packaging and processing offerings, and attendees can meet students interested in careers in the industry.

Finally, the Association Partner Pavilion is for leading associations dedicated to advancing the packaging and processing industry, offering significant resources, insights and expertise all in one central location within the North Hall at booths N4510 – N5101.

Connections count

Another returning event is the Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN) Networking Event.

The PPWLN’s mission is to recruit, retain and advance women’s careers in packaging and processing. Each Pack Expo, the PPWLN hosts a networking event addressing a timely issue facing women in the industry.

The annual Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN) breakfast at Pack Expo International will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 7:30-9:00 a.m., in Room, S-100 at McCormick Place. The keynote speaker this year is Dawn Hudson, former chief marketing officer at the National Football League and former president and chief executive officer of Pepsi Cola North America. Hudson has cultivated an impressive career spanning high-level posts in media, retail, consumer goods, consulting, and health care at some of the biggest corporations in the world, PMMI said.

Helping hands

Pack Gives Back is a special reception and event featured annually at Pack Expo. Proceeds from the event will benefit the PMMI Foundation which provides financial support for packaging and processing education throughout the United States and Canada. This year’s event will feature Styx. The event is slated for Monday, Oct.24, in the West Building of McCormick Place for an additional $95 fee or 10 tickets for $855.

Rockwell Automation is the title-level sponsor for the Pack Gives Back event.