Interview with Annette Freidinger-Legay, Packaging expert – Côté Emballage

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Interview with Annette Freidinger-Legay, Packaging expert – Côté Emballage

Annette FREIDINGEr-LEGAY (5)Can you tell us about your work as a packaging expert?

I am an international consultant for various institutions such as the International Trade Centre (joint UN-WTO agency), the European Union through different consortia and consultancies, and bilateral development agencies.

I carry out consulting and technical assistance missions in Africa. The objective is to contribute to reinforce local packaging industries for every material and to help exporters, especially in the agri-food sector, to adapt their packaging in compliance with their target market. This includes the regulatory, economic, marketing and technical aspects of packaging.

This overview on packaging has allowed me to help the All4pack exhibition organizers in identifying and highlighting the stakes and evolutions in this industry.

You’ve recently given a conference focusing on packaging trends during the CNE’s annual meeting. Could you summarize the main themes for the future of packaging?

 This conference is based on the work done by the Pack Experts Committee that I will host for All4pack; we’re highlighting 5 major focus points for the future of packaging.

First, universal safety and health concerns which force stakeholders to adapt to rapidly evolving regulations that aren’t always coordinated internationally.

Second, the quest for cost-effectiveness: a major concern weighing on the entire supply chain that leads to reducing the number of components, assembling operations of a packaging, or changes in the material and/or supply methods.

Logistics and e-commerce are emerging as favorable environments for innovation, leading to effective packaging solutions adapted to a multi-channel distribution while still considering reverse logistics requirements. In the case of e-commerce, the aim is to be able to produce bespoke packaging on a just-in-time basis that will have a “wow” effect upon arrival, potentially through intra-community delivery.

The fourth focus point opens up an entire new field of possibilities for practical, safe, custom, secure, active and intelligent. In short, ultra-smart packaging! As a connected device, packaging brings more and more conveniences, always while helping to reduce waste.

Finally, companies who work individually on ecodesign are looking into the idea of “zero waste”, but that will require contributions from the entire industry.

 You take part in some of the CNE’s working groups; how do you see the collaboration within these groups?

 I really enjoy these work sessions as they provoke insights from every participant. Every aspect of a packaging-related subject are systematically laid out and analysed, much like a functional analysis. The variety displayed among the participants and their professions reflects how rich the packaging chain is and vouches for the reliability of the work done.

Taking part in these groups is also a rewarding experience for all the participants.

 You also take part in the publication of some of the CNE’s documents; what is your opinion on their final format?

 I would like to congratulate the CNE as the only French organisation to publish in-depth documents and fact sheets available to anyone for free. These documents should be recognized as public utility!

Their publications are well-documented and their fact sheets are succinct and intelligible. As lecturer at the ENSAIA, these publications are part of the literature I encourage my students to read; and the CNE’s practical guide for the ecodesign of packaged products is an essential tool in my lectures.

Position papers “set the record straight” when certain entities try to belittle packaging’s image or even its usefulness, but they also remind the industry stakeholders of their responsibilities. That’s what I call objective debate!

You have been working with the CNE for a long time. How would you develop this relationship further?

 Yes, I have also had the pleasure to be part of the jury for the Emballé 3.0 contest. It gave me the opportunity to look closely at the students’ approach, regardless of their packaging training and education, and to adapt my own contributions to my students.

That is why I would like to suggest that the CNE set up a group comprising of representatives from each of these schools. They could present their work and the CNE’s contest based on a CNE document, with a common “rehearsal” for all of them in Paris.

 Do you have any suggestions to develop the CNE’s activities and visibility?

 It is important for the entire industry that the CNE communicates regularly with its counterparts abroad and that it has access to sufficient resources to stay on course and develop its visibility.

Some webinars, which could be watched lived or on demand in exchange for financial contributions and/or sponsorship, could broadcast in-depth messages or news on a larger scale.

And why not collaborate with Business France, whose mission is to promote French exports and companies, in order to promote French good practices? And also work with the French department of education to draw up and distribute an educational document for primary and/or middle schools?