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Exclusive interview with Unilever ahead of Digital Print for Packaging Europe 2015

Smithers Pira caught up with Advisory Board expert, Matt Daniels, Global Packaging Capacity Leader- Printing and Decoration of Unilever. He shared his thoughts on the brand limitation and motivation as well as future trends for packaging.

Q. Please outline your current role as Global Packaging Capability Leader – Printing & Decoration at Unilever and your past experience in the print sector.

Held various Packaging roles within value chain; from Graphic Designer, Artworker and Artwork & Print Management over 25 years. Knowledge and know-how of different Printing Technologies, Processes, Hardware and Software Tools, Packaging materials, Decorative effects available and used by Unilever. Most importantly, outstanding colleagues and partners that bring ideas to reality. My speciality is Flexography. Current focus is on new and emerging print and decoration technologies that are classed as game changing.

Q. In your 25 years in the industry, what do you feel has been the most monumental change to drive the print industry forward?

The speed in which packaging is; designed, processed for print and printed today is truly amazing. I recall producing an artwork proof using bromide paper and clear film 25 years ago. The influence of a digitised way of working and tools has aided this change. Some might say this shift in ways of working has been phenomenal to drive the print industry forward.

Q. With more and more brands looking to go digital, what do you feel the main limitations are for brands and how can these be addressed by the rest of the industry?

Price - more work is needed to understand the total cost model (TCM), it’s not just about comparing hard line facts and figures. There are many other influencers that impact the true cost. Also ensure Food Safety Standards are met (FDA).

Q.What are brands like Unilever looking to achieve with new technologies such as Digital Printing? What are the motivations?

At the moment, understand what the tangible benefits are for both Unilever and its customers. i.e. reduce packaging complexity.

Q.We’re entering in to an exciting time for digital printing. Where do you see the technology heading in the next 5 years with regard to packaging?

Combination printing presses with a digital capability could become the normal offering by major printer convertors. I’m intrigued to see how Landa Nanographic ® printing will impact the packaging industry.

Q.What are you most looking forward to about this year’s Digital Print for Packaging event? 

Understand more about how sustainable and recyclable Digital printed packaging is.