Page 18 - Packaging News Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 18

PEOPLE IN PACKAGING  November-December 2018
Pioneer points the way
It takes a visionary to recognise opportunity in the face of challenge and there’s no denying the packaging industry has its fair share of challenges right now. So when an expert of Dr Michael Okoroafor’s calibre tells you he sees opportunity in the e-commerce explosion and the industry-wide drive towards a circular economy, you pay attention, writes Lindy Hughson.
F ever there was a time in the packag- ing industry’s history that it was in need of pioneers and innovators it is now. Enter Dr Michael Okoroafor, a polymer chemist by qualification with a passionate conviction that good packaging design is key to a sus-
LEFT: Audacious goalsetter: Dr Michael Okoroafor.
BELOW RIGHT: Dr Okoroafor receives the Hall of Fame award from Joe Angel, president of PMMI Media Group.
& Company, he is the vice president Global Sustainability & Packaging Innovation.
McCormick, he tells me, is a ‘growth sto- ry’ in the food industry and e-commerce is one of its main growth platforms.
“If you don’t embrace e-commerce, it’s at your own peril,” Okoroafor warns.
While e-commerce is a major growth driv- er, Okoroafor says the inherent challenge it presents is around packaging design for e-commerce delivery.
“Most packaging is designed for bricks- and-mortar retail, and adapting the exist- ing packaging for e-commerce usually results in overpackaging, in order to main- tain the pack integrity during shipping via multiple modes of transport – we have to design for every delivery eventuality.”
And herein lies the opportunity, he says.
“The entire supply chain needs to start thinking about how to design for e-com- merce – end of line systems, the downstream equipment, the secondary packaging.
“Amazon is driving change when it comes to packaging design. It has this re- quirement that by July 2019 packaging de- signed for its e-commerce platform has to
tainable future. I caught up with him dur- ing Pack Expo International in Chicago in October, where he was among a group of distinguished packaging professionals in- ducted into the Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
With over 40 patents to his name, Okoro- afor has been integral to the development of some world-leading consumer packages of the past two decades, including Coca- Cola’s PlantBottle, Heinz’s Dip N’ Squeeze condiment pack and McCormick’s First Choice freshness pack. He also helped de- velop the flexible film packaging material essential to Coca-Cola’s Freestyle carbon- ated soft drink dispensing system.
Over the course of his career, Okoroafor has held executive roles with leading FMCG companies like Coca-Cola and Heinz. In his current role at herbs, spices and seasonings manufacturer McCormick

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