Takeaways from the American Packaging Summit

August 14,2023 Category: Packaging Development, Staffing, Sustainability
Earlier this summer, several members of the Adept Group team had the opportunity to attend and host a roundtable discussion at the American Packaging Summit in Chicago. Leadership from several of Adept’s teams had the privilege of connecting with and learning from experts from across our industry.

If you were unable to attend the event or would just like to learn more about some of the main topics of conversation throughout the summit, our team identified a handful of interesting takeaways from their time in Chicago.


It should come as no surprise that sustainability was a central topic at a packaging event in 2023, but it was interesting to see the extent to which sustainability was integrated into nearly every speaking session and topic of conversation. It demonstrates the efforts within the packaging industry to make sustainability a standard feature of almost every project, rather than a separate goal to pursue only in certain situations.

Additionally, there was much talk about ways to balance sustainability with cost savings. As the sustainable packaging market matures, costs for post-consumer recycled content and other sustainable materials continue to fall. Thoughtful planning can create sustainable packaging programs that are in line with costs for traditional packaging, and in many cases even provide opportunities to reduce costs.

Advancements in Packaging Technology

Several sessions focused on technological advancements that allow customization such as unique QR codes for each consumer/package and personalization for secondary packaging components in the e-commerce distribution environment. Other technologies discussed during the summit include, of course, AI and other automation technologies. While when and where to best implement AI is still a key focus, it is already showing promise for enhancing standardization and consistency across global packaging functions.

Many Ways to Be a Diverse Packaging Team

As with many industries, packaging departments from both large and small companies are placing increasing priority on building and maintaining a diverse workforce. This emphasis on diversity includes many of the demographics regularly associated with DEI initiatives, but the increasing participation of women in the packaging engineering field was notable among attendees and speakers alike.

Teams looking to add diversity to their packaging function should also look at suppliers and other external partners. Adding minority-owned companies to a packaging department’s vendor base is a great way to support diversity within the packaging industry as well as move the needle on metrics for ESG reporting.

Beyond diversity of people, diversity of thought, expertise and specializations were also interesting topics of conversation throughout the event. Having team members with diverse packaging experience can benefit organizations by bringing in “outside the box” thinking from other industries and product categories. Diversity of packaging suppliers is equally important, as maintaining a diverse supplier base can help insulate brands from potential material shortages and other disruptions to the supply chain.

If you’d like to discuss how the central topics of conversation at this year’s American Packaging Summit can benefit your packaging operation, reach out. Adept Group’s experts in sustainability, packaging technology, sourcing and staffing have experience helping brands across all industries optimize their packaging, supplier base and packaging teams to meet modern challenges and prepare for the opportunities and challenges to come.