Page 17 - Packaging News Magazine Jan-Feb 2019
P. 17

Answering the call
For some people, their occupation is also their vocation, and this certainly rings true for Campbell Arnott’s packaging director Liza Vernalls, whose 25-year career in packaging has seen her work in major markets for major brands and never fall out of love with
Bpackaging. PKN managing editor Lindy Hughson finds out more.
ORN and educated in South Africa, next on consumer interactions that inform Liza Vernalls completed a National pack structure. There is nothing better Diploma in Packaging Management at than seeing products on shelf that you Technikon Witwatersrand, Johannes- have personally developed. Mentoring the burg. She launched her career as a next generation of technologists is also packaging development co-ordinator very important to me.
at Unilever in South Africa, working
on packaging for specialty cheeses. As her What’s your view on packaging’s role
LEFT: ‘Packaging calling’: Liza Vernalls, packaging director, Campbell Arnott’s.
At a time when plastic packaging is being demonised, and the world is facing a plastics waste crisis that we need to resolve within a tight deadline (2025), do you believe the industry is doing enough and moving fast enough to make change happen?
Industry is sitting up, taking notice and im- plementing action plans; however, the full story is not being told. Yes, plastics are be- ing demonised, and there is a lack of con- sumer understanding in the space. It will take a concerted effort from a cohort of play- ers ranging from brand owners to govern- ment (both local and federal) to the waste management industry to meet the 2025 tar- get. If we get this right then there are poten- tially new opportunities for industry in Australia – which is very exciting.
What’s the most exciting packaging project you have ever worked on?
I was part of a team that launched the UK’s first PET bottle from 100 per cent Post Con- sumer Recycled PET (rPET) in 2007. At the time Ribena was selling 60 million units per annum with 40 per cent rPET; the chal- lenge was to bring this level up to 100 per cent without an impact to appearance and product shelf life.
If you could have a ‘do-over’ of your career, would you still choose packag- ing? What advice would you give to young graduates considering a career in packaging?
There is a saying that “choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I have been in packaging for over 25 years and have never considered any oth- er job – so yes, I would absolutely make the same choice. My career has taken me to very interesting places globally. To anyone look- ing to get in – go for it! Packaging is broad enough to cater for all types of interests, whether they be design, consumer or tech- nical. My advice is find what you naturally gravitate towards and take your place. ■
Liza Vernalls will be participating in the panel discussion at the upcoming PKN + Food & Drink Business Women in Packag- ing Breakfast Forum, taking place on 30 April at Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney (see page 5 for details), as part of the AIP Na- tional Technical Forum on the same day.
career progressed she found herself in the United Kingdom where she spent 10 years in packaging development working for Bakkavor Foods (which made ready meals for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spen- cer) and then GlaxoSmithKline, with one of her last UK-based roles being global pack- aging sustainability manager. In 2010, she emigrated to Australia and spent the first four years with Mondelez International be- fore joining Campbell Arnott’s, where she currently leads the packaging team.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the variety that my job brings; every day delivers a different challenge – one day you may be working on sustainability, the
in consumer engagement?
Packaging plays a critical role in brand de- velopment and consumer engagement. It has the unique ability to form a relation- ship with consumers from the time it is spotted at shelf to the time it is disposed of. Increasingly, its role as the silent salesman is becoming more important as the atten- tion span of consumers decreases under the pressures of modern living. There is a lot of embedded ritual in how consumers interact with packs and products. Packag- ing can play a key role in harnessing this for the brand. In addition, the digital age is here and packaging uniquely holds the key to unlock more consumer interactions, safety and sourcing stories.

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