Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is The Future of Packaging: Navigating New Horizons?

The Future of Packaging: Navigating New Horizons program is a pre-competitive, multi-sponsor exploration of emerging change and opportunity for packaging. The program launches in early 2022, with a first sponsor meeting held at Arizona State University in Tempe, January 26-27, 2022.

Who will participate in the Future of Packaging multi-sponsor program?
Our sponsors are Fortune 100/500 and leading small and mid-size companies across the value chain–leaders in packaging-connected industries (raw material suppliers, converters, brand owners, retailers, and equipment providers).

Past sponsors include leaders in their sectors: AB-InBev, Abbott, Braskem, DuPont, General Mills, Pepsi, International Paper, McCormick, Microsoft, McDonald’s, Mondi, Pepsi, P&G, Scott’s, RWDC Industries, Sonoco, Starbucks and Westrock among many others from the packaging value chain.

What are some of the key topics that will be covered?
The program delivers pre-competitive collaboration as well as insights for participants on the opportunities and challenges they face over the near and long-term future. We will explore trends, new transformations and drivers impacting packaging and present a futures view and critical implications for:

  • The world in 2032—Macro trends impacting global business and how they will influence packaging
  • Life and work post covid – including all the changes across Society, Technology, Environment, Economy, and Politics (STEEP) and, of course, packaging
  • Technology transformations moving to reality and the changing face, including AI, AR/VR, blockchain, automation, robotics, big data, remote work, virtual programs and much more.
  • The changing consumer/customer—Exploring social change and its impacts on brand, packaging, lifestyles, and consumption
    • The future consumer’s path to purchase—how brand purpose, e-commerce, mobile technology, and packaging will merge and shift in the next decade
    • A new and renewed focus on inclusivity across companies providing all consumers with enhanced convenience and brand purpose via packaging
    • How Millennials, Gen Z and new emerging markets will change the game
    • The impacts of e-commerce in transforming retail
    • Social and digital media’s impacts on the consumer, and packaging
    • How consumers will use products and react to packaging in the next decade
  • The digital marketplace and e-commerce—How digital technology is and will transform packaging and the new availability of key data is changing the commercial landscape, production, and retail (especially post-covid)
  • The future of production and solving supply chain preparedness and transformation —Emerging forces are reshaping how we produce, package, and distribute and return goods. Now approaching major tipping point from co-manufacturing to customization to enhanced reverse logistics
  • The Circular Economy (CE)—Expect to see big changes continue and accelerate as a result of new collaborations, legislation and more locally and globally. We are in a transformational stage with packaging waste and climate change. Working toward Net Zero will be critical and ESG will become the norm for companies
  • The Internet of Packaging—How packaging companies will apply the Internet of Things to packaging—data analytics for packaging takes the lead. Look to see this effort tie closely with Industry 4.0 and help to significantly help improve Packaging efficiency and effectiveness and reduce food and packaging waste
  • Science, technology, and innovation—Top research leaders and technologies (structure, functionality, retail/ consumer technology integration) primed for impact over the next decade. How smart technology allows packaging to interact with the consumer
    • New approaches to Innovation—only half the value chain currently uses an Open Innovation tool/process—we explore how it will change
    • Collaborations—leading companies, NGOs, research institutes partner to make a bigger impact than they can on their own. The successful collaboration models.
  • The changing packaging value chain—Critical topics:
    • The changing brand owner and retailer—globally and locally
    • Changing work for the future to hybrid and virtual
    • Small companies become leaders in the future and collaboration is a key driver
    • Required skills and capabilities for the future
    • Retail of the future and the emergence of a more effective omni-channel solutions
    • Organizational structure—what do successful companies do to foster innovation and what will the future packaging skill base be to deliver successful innovation?
    • Growth and importance of machinery and equipment in packaging
    • New value chain components like certifications and EPR globally and Locally
    • Packaging best practices to deliver growth and productivity
    • Blockchain moves from wildcard to commonplace in 2032

As a sponsor, what do I get?
Deliverables include:

  • Three sponsor meetings—participation for two representatives at three two-day sessions with presentations and discussions on the program’s critical change topics
  • Numerous cross value chain working sessions and social networking sessions with other leaders
  • Ability to meet with students at universities where meetings are hosted
  • Understand the latest new technologies and work going on and its implications for packaging in the future (tied to the different site locations where the meetings are held)
  • Topical briefings and report—on all topics explored
  • Meeting summaries – brief overview of each of the three meetings to share with others in your organization
  • Executive conference summaries—the team will attend and report on relevant conferences, and prepare summaries of key insights for the program sponsors
  • Top critical insights and outcomes, implications and action steps to be able to move quickly to the next normal
  • Value chain strategy roadmaps—0-3, 3-5 and 5-10-year strategy roadmaps for different parts of the packaging value chain

What approaches and methodologies will we use?
Proven PTIS and Leading Futurists LLC techniques include foresight processes/ tools, and our, wide-ranging subject matter expertise. Expect to see global thought leader surveys and proprietary and secondary research, as well as new proprietary studies in science and technology and consumer insights in the 2032 program.

We will be introducing new tools like augmented intelligence (AI) at the meetings. We employ as well, critical insight downloads with participants, future scenarios, cross impact analysis, Well Curve analyses, and other tools that deliver on-the-point results that can be applied to for successful packaging outcomes.

My company has been a sponsor in the past. What’s new this time?
This program will reflect the changes to the global economy of the past three years to focus on post-covid changes, changed economic circumstances, shifts in local and global forces, increasing urgency and “buy-in” to global climate change concerns, as well as development of new ideas and approaches post-covid to be able to be more prepared for the future. We expect to see more transformations in the decade ahead than in the past due to the many change forces and drivers coming together to create new holistic opportunities. We will review the Top 9 Strategic Insights from the 2030 program and deliver updates.

What are the dates and timing?
The program begins January 26-27, 2022, at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ and ends September 2022, to allow sponsors to use the information in their 2023 strategic plans.

Three sponsor meetings with on-going data/knowledge updates between the meetings. The second meeting will be in the late spring / early summer. The capstone meeting in September/early October 2022 lays out the 3, 5 and 10-year roadmap and action plans across the value chain for incorporation into 2023 strategic planning sessions. Note that strategies and actions will be broken out by value chain component and by timeframe: 0-3 years, 3-5 years and 5-10 years.

Will you be benchmarking current best practices?
Absolutely, global knowledge and insight will be used throughout the program, and we will identify best and next practices. In addition, the PTIS/Leading Futurists team will be attending key conferences related to packaging. The program will provide sponsors with on-going executive summaries from these conferences. We have already attended several conferences in 2021 and will be including summaries on the sponsor website.

What commitment is expected from a program sponsor?
There is no commitment by our sponsors to contribute any work to the program; the Future of Packaging team does the research and analysis for you. But we strongly urge you to plan to attend our three sponsor meetings, and be ready to share your questions, wisdom, and insights on what’s happening in the packaging sector with the group.

The power of this program is in bringing leading packaging executives across the value chain together in a pre-competitive atmosphere for a joint focus on the current state and future state of packaging. Networking discussions are a highlight of the sessions and new collaborations have been developed between people and companies that offer extreme value. The attendees enjoy the end of day one mixer along with freedom to meet with other sponsors at lunches and dinners.

What is the 2022-2032 roadmap and how will it be created?
The Navigating New Horizons roadmap will take the insights gained during the program, including key collaborative input from program sponsors, to create a focused view of how forces of change will reshape packaging. It will interpret that change for each of part of the value chain and offer an action plan with key milestones for 3, 5, and 10-year horizons.

How will you integrate global customer initiatives into the thinking?
The FoP Navigating New Horizons (2032) Program will explore all parts of the packaging value chain and, since most of the sponsors are global companies, we will integrate North American and global perspectives for each part of value chain. The team will provide local, global and glocal foresight and insights throughout the program.

How will the program present all this information in ways we can use?
The program will culminate in a set of incisive and specific findings you can use in your organizations. Part of the third sponsor meeting will be a focus on effectively communicating results of the program to your company and connecting them to your strategy.

We will provide capstone briefings and reports that pull together the insights from the program for your use in your work and with your colleagues. Each focus area will include a summary briefing presentation. Each session will also include a post meeting, internal Press Release (topline summary) highlighting key insights that attendees can share within their as we explore, define, and shape the Future of Packaging. The program concludes with both a Senior Leadership summary and Top Insights to Actions that sponsors can use at the CEO/Board level to show the importance and value of packaging for companies in the future.

A highlight will be exploring possible and likely futures through building scenarios that can help your company/organization prepare for the unexpected. Often recognized as one of the most important foresight tools, and the most powerful to communicate, our scenarios project future outlooks and what they mean for packaging.


We hope that you find this list of Frequently Asked Questions to be helpful. As always, if you have more questions, or are ready to be a program sponsor, please contact a member of the Future of Packaging: Navigating New Horizons team.

The Future of Packaging – Navigating New Horizons team:

Mike Richmond

Todd Bukowski

John Mahaffie