Insight Update

What’s on the flexible packaging agenda for 2023?

Creation Reprographics (‘Creation’), a dedicated prepress and repro partner to flexible packaging printers, has taken a closer look at the design and production trends set to shape the sector through the coming year, in response to evolving market pressures.

As the flexible packaging industry looks towards the future, Creation, which supports printers in all aspects of prepress, origination and colour management, believes that 2023 will prove to be a year of significant change as challenges mount and printers respond. 

Matt Francklow, Managing Director at Creation, explains: “One of the most exciting elements of the packaging industry is how clearly we can see trends emerging, which reflect how consumers are choosing and using packaging. 

“In 2023, it’s clear that increased pressure on cost will be one of the key talking points. Record inflation is affecting businesses of every size and pushing up material and production costs, which cannot easily be absorbed and will force price increases downstream. Some of the most valuable innovations over the coming year will be those that enable printers to control their overheads, while delivering more fundamental value, protecting what will be more fragile profitability levels.

“In light of greater need for cost control, we are expecting to see a big drive towards fixed colour palette printing, which swaps out costly and resource-intensive spot colour inks for an extended gamut printing system. With a seven-colour CMYK/OGV palette, extended gamut printing can replicate around 90% of Pantone colours. As well as eliminating the need to purchase spot colour inks, handling and storage requirements are also alleviated for the workforce.

“We expect to see sustainability continue to dominate the agenda, particularly while we are looking ahead to major regulatory change in the form of the UK Plastic Packaging Tax now in effect, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) due to begin in 2024, and Net Zero remaining on the horizon. 

“In response, flexible packaging design is evolving to be lighter in weight, stronger and more easily recycled, helping to shake off some of the ‘plastic’ stigma that still exists. A great example of this is the expanding role of monopolymer laminates, which can now offer the same performance level as mixed plastic substrates, but with the benefit of being easily recycled.

“Over the next twelve months, we are expecting brands and retailers to be examining their packaging supply chains more closely seeking to drive sustainability and circular economy principles into their supply chains, not just their products and packaging.”

As a leading name in label and packaging reprographics, Creation helps its printing customers deliver more for their brand partners offering comprehensive services in colour management, design, origination and cutting-edge flexo plates, including the high-performance water washable Fujifilm Flenex-FW, which eliminates costly and harmful solvents from prepress. 

Matt adds: “Technologies that help printers to achieve more with less are set to skyrocket, with great examples including our Flenex-FW plates. As an industry, we tend to think of sustainability in printing creating compromises in performance, but that’s simply not true today. These plates remove the need for harmful solvent VOC washout in prepress, while also increasing quality and shortening makeready time. 

“Over the coming year, no printer can afford to remain static in their processes and systems. At Creation, we are fully expecting more technology innovations to make a real difference, and we can’t wait to see how the sector evolves to meet the shifting challenges. It’s the ideal time to explore the many benefits of a dedicated repro partner like Creation!”

To learn more about Creation, its expertise and services to the print and packaging sectors, please visit

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