The Land of the Rising Sun…Japan. Just over 3 weeks ago, I hopped on a plane, had a hectic transfer in Beijing and eventually arrived in Tokyo, to begin my two week adventure around these amazing islands. I arrived during the heart of the ‘Sakura’ (cherry blossom) season and this was reflected throughout the country, from the bright neon lights of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, to the mountainous regions and the Japanese Alps.
Of course, with several of my colleagues at AD being self-professed packaging and paper ‘geeks’, they weren’t far from my mind. The Japanese love anything ‘kawaii’ (cute), and pay particular attention to the details of their packaging and some of the products I saw in this regard were truly inspiring. For example, when Japanese people travel to other parts of the country, it is customary to return home with gifts that represent the region they have visited, including beautifully wrapped and packaged sweet delicacies.
Another trend I couldn’t help noticing was just how big a market share flexible packaging has across the toiletries and beauty sectors, with shampoo, body wash and moisturiser all in pouches as well as home products, such as laundry liquid. Flexible packaging pouches are considerably more eco-friendly than PET alternatives, and this trend is growing across Asia as a whole, as another member of the team here at AD reliably informed me. These flexible pouch films are fully printed and laminated, allowing for changes to the packaging to be made easily if required.
This is a trend that’s also slowly emerging in European markets; products such as coffee and dishwasher tablets are moving away from rigid packaging to this less wasteful alternative. And, with the flexible packaging market estimated to be worth $351 billion by 2018, this is a serious market contender to more traditional packs.
As I’m now experiencing serious post-Japan blues, I’d like you to help me through this period by letting me know what exciting packaging you’ve also seen from around the world. Meanwhile, I’m off to consider my next destination…Sayonara, or さようなら for now.