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Post war packaging and how it shaped the industry

12 May 2020

As we reflected on how the world has changed since VE Day, a day that many of our family members would have been part of, it also made us think of the changes that have been experienced in packaging.

In that time, seismic changes in what was required, what could be designed and produced, and the expectations of consumers and manufacturers have been experienced and arguably have shaped the industry into one that is intrinsically linked in so many other areas of our supply chains.

After the end of the Second World War in 1945, and as a new way of life began to emerge, product designers began to experiment with new material. Greater flexibility in the choice of packaging gave the growing network of supermarkets the flexibility to meet consumer needs as choice and demand grew, hand in hand, at exponential levels. In tandem, was the way packaging evolved too – from its utilitarian history to an effective sales and marketing tool.

Here are ten moments in the last seventy-five years that have impacted upon the packaging industry either in terms of production, supply or innovation.

1946 – One of the biggest global manufacturers of corrugated packaging machinery, Bobst, employed 200 people after the end of the war. Its revenue saw an 80% growth when compared with the previous year. The corrugated packaging boom had begun.

1949 – A new ink was created and aniline printing was renamed flexographic printing – one of the most popular printing methods and one which is still used across the corrugated sector today.

1952 – In September, the first Tetra Pak machine for tetrahedron-shaped cartons is delivered to the Lund dairy. Tetra Pak, the familiar, liquid carton that is still going strong today had arrived.

1959 – The first aluminium ring pull can was designed by Ermal Fraze opening up the fizzy drinks market and allowing increased production.

1970 – The universal recycling symbol was created in 1970 by University of Southern California student Gary Anderson as part of a competition linked to the very first Earth Day. It has become a globally recognised symbol and is particularly relevant to the corrugated industry which prides itself on its recycling credentials.

1994 – The New York Times reported the sales of a CD between two friends as the first online transaction under the headline ‘The Internet is Open.’ E-commerce had begun and the packaging revolution required to support it.

1996 – UK Food labelling regulations were founded bringing uniformity to the requirements for all packaging in the UK.

2004/2005 – The Logson Group and the Boxes and Packaging brand was created.

2005 – Packaging Waste regulations were introduced which required businesses in the UK to recycle and recover specified amounts of packaging waste. Is this when we all began to think about packaging and its sustainability a little more?

2020 – Boxes and Packaging will celebrate 15 years as a group of companies later this year.

It’s been great to be part of the UK packaging industry for the last fifteen years with many of our employees having experienced many more years in the industry, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge that gives us great resilience and skill diversity as a business.

It does seem though that things have perhaps gone full circle from post war Britain when new packaging materials were created and used everywhere, to a time where the emphasis is now firmly back on responsible, sustainable and recyclable packaging.




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