The packaging industry reconnects with business and innovation at a fruitful Hispack

Hispack more than lived up to expectations. Fira de Barcelona’s exhibition recaptured the atmosphere of the great industrial trade fairs, bringing together companies, organisations and professionals linked to packaging to showcase innovation and share knowledge at a time when the transition towards the circularity of packaging is accelerating. In its 18th edition, Hispack brought together 643 exhibitors and 1,027 brands represented, attracting 31,118 visitors, 11% international, together with the graphics and visual communication industry show, Graphispag.


The first balance of Hispack is satisfactory. The event has left a good impression among the participating companies, speakers, international buyers, guests and the public. Attendees have found machinery in operation, many new products, meetings with customers, quality professional contacts, orders closed and a great follow-up of the activities. In short, four days of continuous activity on the stands, in the halls and in the conference areas, demonstrating the strength and dynamism of an industry that is essential to the Spanish productive economy, with an annual turnover of around 30,000 million euros.

The coincidence in dates and venue with Graphispag has been highly valued, as it has contributed to increase the commercial offer and the convening power of both fairs, as well as to make visible the synergies between packaging and printing. Due to its size, the combination of Hispack and Graphispag makes it one of the largest industrial trade fair platforms of the year in the Iberian market.

Sustainability and automation
Sustainability was the main theme of Hispack. The stands, which filled more than 30,000m2 net in halls 2 and 3 of the Gran Via venue, showcased solutions in technology, processes and materials to reduce the environmental footprint of packaging. The current context, marked by the legislative changes underway to promote the circular economy and which particularly affect packaging, accelerates the implementation of these innovations in user industries. The digitisation and automation of processes – shown in the machines and equipment on display – are also focused on improving eco-efficiency, as well as the productivity and competitiveness of companies.

60% of Hispack’s offer corresponded to equipment and machinery for packaging, bottling, labelling, coding, traceability, process, automation, robotics and logistics. Meanwhile, the remaining 40% of exhibitors presented materials, finishes, POS and specific packaging elements for different industrial and consumer sectors, as well as for distribution, e-commerce and retail.

Visitor quality and internationality
Among the professionals attending Hispack, there was an increase in the number of manufacturers, especially from the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetics sectors, among others.
The technical profile linked to the manufacture of containers and packaging, process engineering and intralogistics continues to predominate. Professionals linked to the areas of design, marketing and innovation are also on the rise.
The president of the Hispack organising committee, Jordi Bernabeu, is convinced of the multiplier effect that the trade fair will have on the commercial activity of the packaging industry in the coming months: “we have attracted a quality visitor and clients with specific projects that need to apply solutions that are highly focused on sustainability and this dynamism in demand will be reflected in the sector’s turnover”.

In terms of international attendance, Hispack met its initial objectives, attracting some 3,500 professionals, mostly from European countries, with Portugal leading the way, followed by Italy, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Professionals from Latin America, especially from Chile, Mexico and Colombia, and from Mediterranean countries such as Turkey and Morocco, also attended in large numbers.

In this regard, it is worth highlighting the intense activity carried out at Hispack’s International Business Point (IBP), where some 500 business meetings were held between exhibitors and the 49 international buyers directly invited by the organisers. It was also the reception area for trade delegations from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Greece and India who attended the fair, as well as the venue for training courses and presentations on market opportunities and technology transfer from Europe.

Special mention should be made of the presence of Chile, Hispack’s guest of honour, which, in addition to three exhibiting companies, brought a large trade mission led by executives and representatives of the Chilean Packaging Centre, CENEM. Hispack also recognised the Chilean packaging sector as one of the most dynamic in Latin America as part of its “Best in class” programme, driven by the strategy outlined for the next decade, which emphasises exports, especially in the food (fruit, fish and seafood) and wine sectors, and in which packaging plays a fundamental role.

Close follow-up of the activities 
As a complement to the commercial offer, it is worth highlighting the interest aroused by the 147 conferences, sessions and round tables with 322 speakers held within the framework of the fair, with an estimated attendance of more than 6,000 people. The director of Hispack, Xavier Pascual, underlines “the important role of Hispack in promoting knowledge about trends and concrete results of the application of innovation through packaging and its ability to bring together representatives of the entire packaging ecosystem from both the supply and demand sides”.

The “Unboxing” areas concentrated most of the presentations. In Hall 2, the topics of debate focused on sustainability strategies in packaging, branding, materials and improving the user experience. Among the proposals on the agenda were several round tables with the participation of representatives from some thirty leading companies in the application of innovative and sustainable packaging processes and solutions, invited through the “Hispack Boosters” programme. Mercadona, Campofrio, Nestlé, Danone, The Body Shop, Ferrer, Henkel, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Ametller Origen, Codorniu, Danone, Ferrer, Freixenet, Pastas Gallo, Mahou-San Miguel, Nestlé, Carelli, Nueva Pescanova, Henkel, The Body Shop, Unilever and Mercabarna explained their experiences at Hispack. The contribution of speakers and content from organisations and technology centres such as Eurecat, ITENE, AIMPLAS, Packaging Cluster, AINIA, Cluster de Innovación del Envase y Embalaje, Ecovidrio, Cicloplast, ANAIP, Plastics Europe, Packnet, Aebrand, Stanpa and Graphispack Asociación was also significant.

Meanwhile in Hall 3, trends and results of the automation of the manufacturing process and the supply chain where packaging is increasingly relevant to ensure its efficiency were addressed. Artificial intelligence in logistics centres, robotics to make warehouse operations more flexible, systems to achieve more efficient reception and preparation of orders, packaging for ecommerce and inventory management and traceability were discussed. In these presentations, Hispack counted on the collaboration of several technology suppliers who gave voice to their customers to jointly explain cases of application of their equipment and the results obtained in companies. Also noteworthy were the sessions of the Spanish Logistics Centre (CEL) on intralogistics.
In parallel, Hispack hosted 14 guest events organised by organisations, companies and publications from the sector. The Packaging Cluster Zone was particularly active, with talks and presentations on packaging R&D projects, start-ups, market research and sector talent. Also well attended was #CollaboratePack, Europe’s largest congress on collaborative robotics applied to the automation of packaging and logistics processes, organised by Universal Robots, which attracted 4,300 attendees.

For its part, the Beauty Cluster organised the 4th edition of the Perfumery Congress, a scientific and technical meeting that combines olfactory science, innovation in the fragrance industry and research in perfumery, which was attended by more than 150 people. AERCE held its Procurement Day Catalonia 2022 as part of the fair, an event that brought together a hundred purchasing professionals to share experiences, ideas and initiatives linked to innovation and sustainability.

Economic report
Since 2000, Hispack has been publishing different sectoral studies for each edition of the show to highlight and publicise the important economic weight of the packaging industry, analyse the current situation and detect the trends that mark its evolution. This year, the Fira de Barcelona show has presented the report “Packaging, a driving force for innovation in industry”, which takes a snapshot of the current situation and identifies the most immediate challenges for the packaging sector, such as the lack of supply and rising prices of raw materials, the increase in production costs and the rise in demand for sustainable packaging in a scenario of changes in the regulatory framework.

This study, available to companies and professionals in the sector, also provides the main figures for Spanish packaging: 29,750 million euros of turnover in 2020, which represents 4.37% of the total turnover of the Spanish industry and 2.65% of GDP; as well as 3,180 companies and 113,000 jobs.

Recognition and celebration
Another new feature of Hispack was its “Best in Class” programme, which gives visibility to and recognises European industrial projects in which packaging has acted as a driving force for innovation and business transformation and which can inspire other companies. The success stories of the companies GrowUp Farm (Denmark); “The Body Shop” (England); E&O Laboratories (Scotland); Bakkafrost (Faroe Islands) and Ice Age Ice (Germany) were shared at an exclusive event attended by some 60 people. The protagonists explained the packaging innovations they applied to multiply their efficiency, access new markets or transform their business model.

Hispack was also the setting for the awards ceremony of the Liderpack Packaging Awards and Popai Spain Awards for POS, corresponding to the 2020 and 2021 editions. A total of 38 packaging entries were honoured; 31 Point of Sale Advertising elements and 12 projects carried out by students from universities and design schools. Overall, the 81 winning entries stood out for their originality, functionality and innovative design, as well as their sustainability. This competition, organised by the Graphispack Association and Hispack, is the most important of its kind in Spain and allows a selection of winners to enter the WorldStar Awards competition.

Another highlight of the show was the Packaging Party, which attracted more than a thousand people. This social event, designed to promote networking in a relaxed atmosphere, encouraged personal reunions and opportunities to expand the network of professional contacts. Live music, gastronomy and a desire to celebrate the return to normality in the packaging ecosystem.

After this successful edition, Hispack will take place again from 7 to 10 May 2024 and from then on will resume its triennial periodicity and fit into the international trade fair calendar of the packaging sector.

Barcelona, 1st June 2022

Images available here

Maria Dolores Herranz
Tel. 93 233 25 41