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Cal Poly Research Suggests Digital Technology Will Revolutionize Packaging Industry Marketing

The Graphic Communication Institute (GrCI) at Cal Poly, in partnership with Summit Media Group’s Packaging World, has released the results of new market research in packaging, which suggests that emerging digital technologies will revolutionize packaging marketing.

Titled “Innovation in Marketing Through Packaging Technology,” the research looks at four groups of companies engaged in the packaging supply chain: consumer product companies, converters, contract packagers, and commercial printers. It explores key issues facing the industry, such as the ability of packaging to enhance consumer marketing; standard stock keeping unit (SKU) proliferation and its impact on the packaging supply chain; digital printing as an emerging solution; and the potential for new technologies to create market disruption by challenging traditional conversion processes and business models. 

The study provides insight into the packaging supply chain through more than 5,000 data points collected from 550 respondents. The executive summary explores issues that include: 

  • How technology is changing the way consumer product goods (CPG) brand owners’ package and market their products;
  • How label and packaging converters are responding to the demands CPG companies place on them;
  • The extent to which digital printing is recognized as an emerging solution among various groups in the supply chain;
  • Perceptions and adoption of augmented reality, near-field communication, 3-D printing, and printed electronics; and
  • Whether new entrants to the packaging supply chain will challenge converters through the adoption of digitally enabled technologies.

“This research project is seminal in its multidisciplinary approach at the intersection of marketing, packaging and graphic communication. It’s clear that packaging is the next medium to revolutionize through digital technology,” said GrCI Director Harvey Levenson.

Joe Angel, president and CEO of Summit Media Group Inc., said, “The impact on marketing via packaging technology continues to be an evolving area and will be for a long time. We are privileged to partner with an outstanding institution like Cal Poly on this groundbreaking research.” 

Participating sponsors include the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC); Tag and Label Management Institute (TLMI); PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies; Contract Packaging Association (CPA); Paper, Film and Foil Converting Association (PFFC); Converting and Package Printing Expo (CPP Expo); Hewlett Packard Company; Xeikon America; Heidelberg USA; Coveris Global; Indopoly Swakarsa; Canon USA; and Domino USA.

Carl Joachim, Cal Poly GrCI associate; Pat Reynolds, editor of Packaging World; and Jack Knott, former CEO of Exopack/Coveris, will present the findings from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 29, at GRAPH EXPO at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., in Room N-426ab, North Hall, Level 4.

The research will also be highlighted as part of The Innovation Stage presentations during PACK EXPO, Nov. 2-5 in Chicago.

Copies of the research and a customer seminar series based on research findings will be offered through the GrCI. For details, visit

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