Refrigerated and frozen foods manufacturers face a rapidly changing landscape driven by a combination of developments in e-commerce, new food safety regulations and increasingly discerning consumer behavior. PACK EXPO Las Vegas, which takes place Sept. 25-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and its co-host, the Healthcare Packaging EXPO, will provide a one-stop shop for brands seeking the latest innovations to address evolving consumer and regulatory demands.

Owned and produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, Reston, Va., the shows will offer educational programming and opportunities to cross-pollinate ideas among industries.

Clean and convenient

According to PMMI’s 2017 Trends in Food Processing Operations Market Research, today’s consumers are more conscious of the impact of food ingredients. Additionally, as lifestyles become increasingly busy with more frequent travel, the demand for on-the-go nutrition is rising.

Convenience has always been a main driver of the refrigerated and frozen foods industry. Now, organic bottled juice, frozen fresh herbs and new specialty cold food categories offer consumers new options to save time while staying healthy.

To help meet the demand for ingredient transparency, clean labels communicate sourcing of both food and packaging materials. From gluten-free to non-GMO, clean labeling is affecting nearly half of food processing operations, according to PMMI’s report.

Smarter and safer

While food and beverage professionals are making huge strides in meeting consumer demands for convenience and transparency, safety is still a paramount concern—particularly for cold food manufacturers. Innovations in robotics, smart packaging and digital printing are just some of the technologies that can help refrigerated and frozen food operations enhance flexibility and safety.

Robots are now being used for sorting, orienting, case packaging, multi-SKU packaging and palletizing on packaging lines worldwide, according to PMMI’s report. Advanced automation can help prevent work-related injuries caused by long-term repetitive movements. Further, integrating track-and-trace systems with SKU creation has become the first line of defense for brands managing a recall.

Some of the most exciting new technology can be found in smart packaging. Advances include anti-microbial technology to protect cold foods from contamination, detection of an approaching expiration date and communication of product freshness.

See it all at PACK EXPO Las Vegas

Cold food brands will find these innovations and more at the largest PACK EXPO Las Vegas to date. This year’s show is slated to attract more than 30,000 attendees, including 5,000 international visitors from more than 125 countries. Next-generation technology will be on display from the 2,000-plus exhibitors spanning 900,000 net square feet of a nearly sold-out exhibit floor.

Attendees across industries will benefit from the Innovation Stage presentations, a series of free 30-minute seminars on technological breakthroughs. Industry-specific innovations include updates on clean labeling, smart packaging and the latest in automation.

Cold food brands seeking to enhance sustainability and reduce waste can head to the Reusable Packaging Pavilion, sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA), Tampa Fla. This pavilion will provide a single destination for the best reusable products, services and supply chain solutions.

Meanwhile, The Containers and Materials Pavilion will address innovations such as updates on paperboard, glass, metal and plastic as well as flexible and resealable packaging options. The Showcase of Packaging Innovations, sponsored by The Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., and located within the Containers and Materials Pavilion, will host award-nominated packaging solutions utilizing breakthrough technology to address consumer demands.

And, both PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO will feature 30-minute seminars at the Innovation Stage, offering a look at breakthrough technologies, innovative applications and proven techniques from industry experts.