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Inaugural Future Trailblazers honoured at Packaging Innovations

Packaging Solutions

A trio of Future Trailblazers were celebrated at Packaging Innovations & Empack 2024 for their contribution to the future of packaging. 


The inaugural award winners were joined on the Circular Economy Stage on the final day of the UK's flagship packaging exhibition by Dani Novick and Ian Roe, directors at Mercury Search and Selection, and Packaging Group at IOM3's chair, Jude Allan.


Lucy Boston, head of marketing and communication at Carlton Packaging, Chris Yapp, director at Tri-Locker, and Abigail Sawyer-Parker, packaging technologist at ProAmpac, were each considered enthusiastic champions for packaging and walked away with a coveted award, having driven innovation from a consumer perspective in their respective roles. 


‘What we were looking for with Future Trailblazers is the relatively new people in the industry,’ said Jude Allan. ‘We were looking for people who are making a difference; people at different points in the business that don't necessarily get those moments of recognition. And part of why we wanted to do this is because we must showcase how brilliant packaging is as a career.’


‘Nobody grows up wanting to go into packaging,’ said Dani Novick. ‘I have recruited into packaging for 28 years, and hand on heart, I can tell you that most people couldn’t think of working elsewhere. Yet we have the largest number of people moving around the same industry. We have a very high staff turnover and a very low rate of newcomers. So, to see a panel of three people early on in their career in packaging is so exciting because it’s bringing fresh ideas.’


Chris Yapp was recognised for his role in creating the plastic free sealed food tray system Tri-Locker. This new, non plastic sealed tray is easy to open and tamper proof.


‘Tri-Locker, in a nutshell, is a patented system of sealing trays without the heat seal, using cold-seal adhesive,’ said Chris. 


‘My background is in hospitality, and within that sector, you get immediate feedback from your customers, whether you like the food, drink or service. As an experienced consumer and somebody who unwraps packaging materials in one of my businesses, I have always been very frustrated that you can’t get into some of this packaging easily, and a certain amount goes into the black bin bag that is incinerated or goes to landfill.


‘I wanted to investigate whether we could get to mono-material or even 100% recyclable, and the possibility of having 99% plastic free. And that is not looking at it as someone who has spent four decades in the packaging industry; I am looking at it the way customers do and how it works.’


Lucy Boston shared her belief that ideas are all around us and everywhere we look. Her award capped a successful couple of days for the Bedford based business after Rapilock Pro’s inclusion in the Innovation Gallery.


‘I saw an opening in the market that a lot of customers weren’t listening to the consumer,’ she said. ‘But we are the consumers. We are the people who buy the packaging as well as sell it, and we should know what we want.


‘I said to my team that there was a piece missing. We are supplying all these pretty boxes, but does the consumer want all this packaging or need all this? We always listen to the consumer first, even though we don’t supply directly. We then frame that to our customers and say, ‘This is what consumers want, now let's build your packaging around that’.’


Abigail Sawyer-Parker, who has spent the last two years developing flexible paper packaging solutions that merge form and function while minimising environmental impact, was awarded for her project work on the ProActive Recyclable high barrier paper sachet.


‘I couldn’t have done it without the support and opportunities given to me as part of team ProAmpac,’ she said. Here diverse entry into a technical packaging role saw her move from laboratories to publishing and then back again.


She added, ‘I joined the business with very little idea of the role and was quickly allowed to work on a project with complete freedom.


‘When I first joined, flexible paper packaging was quite a new thing for the company, and at the time, I was a technical coordinator, and this project was getting traction. I was lucky enough to get given that project, and in a way, because I was so new to the industry, we had a chance to grow together.’




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