The global packaging market was valued at USD 917.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 1,050.3 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 3.3% from 2021 to 2026. The food & beverage industry is the largest packaging end-user, accounting for over 50% of the market share. The flexible packaging market is expected to reach USD 373.34 billion by 2030. Plastics dominated due to material adaptability, easy application, and cost-effectiveness.
The rapid growth of packaging products drives market demand for cheaper, lightweight, and space-saving packaging. As well as more sustainable solutions to combat the exponential wrapping waste problem.
Packaging is a critical component of modern commerce. It offers various benefits that help protect, preserve, and promote products while meeting consumer needs and expectations.
As innovators and designers, we are always concerned with “how things ought to be” beyond the status quo. Packaging waste can contribute to environmental pollution and the depletion of natural resources. Single-use wrappers, in particular, have been criticized for impacting landfills, oceans, and wildlife. Any wrapping adds to the cost of a product and can create unrealistic expectations. Therefore, most governments already regulate extensive or misleading use. Next to the logistical challenges, some materials are more difficult to recycle than others. Leading to confusion among consumers and a lower overall recycling rate. These challenges complicate the sustainable packaging developments that balance product protection and consumer convenience with environmental and social sustainability.
Striving for a more holistic solution
With Adapa, we found a like-minded challenger of the standard practices and an advocate for the EU Green Deal. The company aims to prevent loss and waste of food along the supply chain of essential goods by rethinking “HOW” packaging is produced in every step of the value chain. Established in 2012 with an HQ in Wiener Neudorf, Austria, Adapa’s 2,200 employees realize approx. € 690 million annual revenue. With production sides in Germany, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Greece, France, the UK, and Italy, the 22 factories provide packaging solutions for the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and aroma protection industries.
“Digitalisation can also help improve the availability of information on the characteristics of products sold in the EU […] an electronic product passport could provide information on a product’s origin, composition, repair and dismantling possibilities, and end-of-life handling.”The European Green Deal, 2019
To expand its global impact, Adapa Group is committed to the circular economy (CE) by bringing a holistic approach toward developing products with sustainability in mind. What accelerates this effort is the upcoming EU’s Ecodesign Directive. This directive mandates that the packaging industry implement Digital Product Passport (DPP) into their products and services. Adapa sought a holistic solution for regulatory compliance and traceability of product information across the entire value chain.
Packaging Traceability for Circularity
Legislators, partners, and customers increasingly require product traceability to improve the availability of information about the product throughout the value chain and achieve the circularity of plastics. Traceability systems such as digital product passports have been identified as enablers of increased circularity and sustainability. Digital product passports can provide unique identifiers and a permanent record of the product’s lifetime history.
INDEED helped Adapa develop a business case that addresses the growing need for transparency and circularity in the packaging industry. We identified a strategic direction with a vision statement, potential use cases, and applications for different stakeholders in its packaging value chain. In addition, we created a visual narrative/pitch that effectively demonstrates Adapa’s vision for stakeholder buy-in and partner engagement.
The solution is relatively simple: to reduce pollution, we must collect more waste and increase recycling. We need to remind ourselves that any wrapping contains a valuable resource. And this economic value of packaging materials needs to be recovered.
Indeed, this vision requires a holistic, systematic approach to realize it: stakeholders need to capture and share data generated throughout the product’s lifecycle. Also, global players in the plastics trade and packaging value chains can align to improve the circularity of plastics. Yet, the industry is challenged by a lack of data, standardization, and commitments of global stakeholders.
The next generation: A blockchain-enabled system for transparency and circularity
We were lucky to leverage Adapa Group’s vision with our analysis and sculpt it with our design and business modeling expertise. Adapa’s goal is a plastics data platform for packaging material traceability and circularity through accurate data collection and analysis, enabled by new identifier technologies and the packaging stakeholder ecosystem rethinking. Leveraging Digital Product Passport (DPP) as an enabler, Adapa aims to become a credible service provider bridging between physical and digital products throughout the entire value chain. Adapa will go beyond creating a DPP platform with industry partners. AdapaDigital’s business case focuses on building a standard packaging product infrastructure that creates value for all stakeholders.
Once the Packaging Material Supplier sends a request to Adapa Digital, a blockchain element is created, and a set of unique dot codes is sent to the Material Supplier. Now the creation of the Digital Product Passport (DPP) and the production of the physical product (incl. printing of dot code as an identifier) happen in parallel. At the end of the process, the digital and the physical world are linked by scanning the identifier on the packaging.
Digital Product Passport as an enabler of circularity
The Digital product passports (DPP) we developed for Adapa Group can provide a unique identifier. It is a permanent record of the product’s lifetime history. It allows secure data exchange for all actors involved in the packaging supply chain.
A trusted partner network
Adapa Digital Partner Ecosystem provides a trusted packaging partnership network to achieve sustainability. As the integrator, Adapa will bring together all relevant industry stakeholders. This happens in the physical and digital domains by extending its current expertise in product packaging towards initiating and hosting the operating structure.