Smurfit Kappa’s Design2Market Factory “broadens European footprint”
20 Oct 2023 — Smurfit Kappa is set to expand its Design2Market Factory initiative across Europe after a successful first operative year. The facility, which empowers customers to test and adapt their packaging solutions on a small scale before market launch, is set to be replicated in key European markets, including Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK.
Arco Berkenbosch, Smurfit Kappa’s chief innovation officer, says: “The journey of the Design2Market Factory has been remarkable, and the trust placed in us by many industry-leading household names is testament to our commitment to innovation and excellence at speed.”
“Broadening our European footprint will help more customers to stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape and achieve their sustainability goals in line with our Better Planet Packaging initiative.”
The paper-based packaging giant details that Design2Market’s original 3,000 square meters innovation hub in the Netherlands has been the birthplace of over 50 successful projects, serving some of the world’s most prominent consumer brands.
“Smurfit Kappa’s multi-disciplinary team takes a packaging challenge and designs a new solution which is ready to be tested in the market in just two weeks,” it shares.
Beyond the benefits of risk reduction and faster turnaround times, the Design2Market Factory offers customers environmentally sustainable packaging solutions that contribute to reducing their carbon footprint and align with their recyclability goals.
At the initiative’s core are user-driven prototypes resulting from close customer collaboration. The team addresses specific packaging needs by combining creative input, technical expertise and advanced AI models.
Smurfit Kappa is transforming the packaging industry through strategic expansions and acquisitions. The solutions launched include shelf-ready packaging for detergent, a paper-based alternative to traditional shrink wrap. It also created a comprehensive range of e-commerce solutions, including packaging solutions that meet Amazon’s certification standards.
Smurfit Kappa’s Design2Market Factory has become a catalyst for innovation within the packaging industry. Its expansion across key European markets is poised to empower businesses to meet the growing consumer demand for packaging solutions that are sustainable, efficient and user-friendly.
The initiative solidifies Smurfit Kappa’s standing as an industry leader. In a recent discussion with Packaging Insights, Berkenbosch delved into the challenges and drivers shaping the e-commerce packaging industry, shedding light on how the company is adeptly meeting customer demands.
“The demand for e-commerce packaging continues to surge, underscoring that it’s far more than just a simple box. Our Design2Market Factory streamlines the development process from packaging design to market launch, effectively addressing two pivotal trends in the packaging industry — sustainability and e-commerce.”
“Customers can now test tangible prototypes with consumers, incorporating their invaluable feedback to refine and perfect these solutions before full-scale production. Furthermore, by choosing Smurfit Kappa as their packaging partner, customers are assured of renewable, recyclable, and extensively recycled paper and corrugated board,” said Berkenbosch.
Smurfit Kappa is transforming the packaging industry through strategic expansions and acquisitions. The company recently invested €5 million (US$5.3 million) in constructing a state-of-the-art purification and wastewater treatment facility in Belgrade, Serbia — the first of its kind in the country.
Furthermore, its merger with WestRock has sent reverberations throughout the market. Analysts anticipate significant advancements in circularity-recyclability and decarbonization standards across America due to the Smurfit WestRock US$34 billion merger. This union is also expected to foster product innovation through combined expertise, focusing on sustainability that promises to elevate the paper packaging sector, particularly in its competition with other materials, notably plastics.
However, this merger led to a significant shift for Smurfit, as it moved its headquarters from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to Dublin, Ireland. While this transition to the New York Stock Exchange reflects the company’s global expansion, it caused an approximate £9 billion (US$11.24 billion) loss to the LSE. The aftermath was palpable, with Smurfit’s share prices plummeting by 11% at the LSE in the morning following the merger announcement.
These developments mark a turning point for Smurfit Kappa, reshaping the packaging industry and setting the stage for a dynamic and innovative future.
Edited by Radhika Sikaria
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