Lessons from ADF&PCD and PLD Paris 2020 



Sustainability, responsibility and evolving consumer sensibilities emerge as key themes.

ADF&PCD and PLD Paris 2020, the dedicated event for the aerosol, dispensing, perfume, luxury drinks & cosmetic packaging community, completed its most successful edition to date last week, attracting 650 exhibitors and 10,000+ attendees over two days. In addition, 90% of exhibitors reserved stand space for ADF&PCD and PLD Paris 2021 before the show had closed its doors, with many increasing the size of their stands.


The event brought together the most innovative packaging suppliers, including 141 new exhibitors, with the most influential packaging designers, buyers and specifiers in an environment that was carefully curated to maximise the opportunities for the market to learn, source, network and gain inspiration. Key highlights of the event included the launch of PLD (Packaging of Premium & Luxury Drinks); an interactive conference programme across four theatres, featuring speakers from the world’s top brands; creative inspiration through galleries of artists and the world’s best packaging design; plus the ever-popular ADF&PCD Awards, guided tours and much more.

As a result, ADF&PCD and PLD Paris proved itself to be the key packaging event of the year for doing business for the world’s top beauty, drinks and FMCG brands, with companies such as L'Oréal, Martell Mumm Perrier Jouet, Chanel, LVMH, Coty, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Remy Cointreau and many more sending full teams of packaging decision-makers across design, marketing, packaging technology, purchasing and R&D to the event.


The event also extended its international reach, with attendees from 84 countries. As the spiritual home of the global perfume, cosmetics and luxury products market and a world leader in wine and spirits, France accounted for around 70% of attendees. The top-represented countries outside of France were the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain, accounting for 16% of attendees. The event also hosted a Korean Pavilion for the first time.


Josh Brooks, event director at ADF&PCD and PLD Paris 2020, says: “We worked hard to build our visitor experience around the four key pillars of learning, inspiration, sourcing and networking, and we’re very pleased that the feedback from exhibitors and visitors suggests the show successfully delivered in each of these areas”. Most of all, this is an event where companies come not only to plan projects but to execute them, and to do business with both new and existing suppliers. We saw bigger teams – and therefore more buying influence – attending from the top brand owners. This suggests that the show is only becoming more important as an essential element in the innovation and buying process for the sectors it covers”.


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… Rethink?

So what were the key themes emerging from the show?

Debates around the circular economy took new and sometimes unexpected turns. Some advocated incremental refinements to the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra. Suggestions included placing greater emphasis on bioplastics, carbon offsetting, the switch to chemical recycling of plastics, as well as focus on factors such as lightweighting and mono-material design. Others put forward more radical solutions in reinventing how the sector can address the waste issue. 


Nicolas Moufflet of Lys Packaging, suggested the time has come to shift responsibility to plants. He wants to see brands reconfigure packaging strategies to plant-based materials, coupled with nationally mandated domestic composting strategies. Monique Large of Pollen Consulting recommended the beauty sector looks seriously at decarbonisation, the process of removing carbon from the air and capturing it in products and, potentially, packaging.



Responsibility – from all

The court of public opinion loomed large over the event as businesses, especially those in the luxury space, face the challenge of balancing performance with sustainability. A recurring theme was that all stakeholders, including governments and consumers, must take collective responsibility for tackling the challenge of waste. 

Brands have often been spurred into action by consumer demands. Jeb Gleason-Allured, editor of Global Cosmetics Industry, cautions that consumers will soon judge the sustainability of packaging in a similar way to the sustainability of ingredients. However, he goes on to suggest brands that get it right will reap the benefits, as evidenced by the positive sentiment around Naked by Lush.


Evolving design sensibilities 

Jon Davies of design agency Butterfly Cannon suggests the cultural dial has swung to ‘countersignalling’. In practical terms, this favours inclusivity over exclusivity, non-binary over binary and minimalism over ostentation. He argues consumer tastes have shifted away from conspicuous consumption to fun and, again, sustainability. 

These trends could be seen across the exhibition halls, as well as in many of the winning entries for this year’s ADF&PCD Awards. In the ADF Awards, Kao Biore U Foam Stamp Hand Wash was the clear winner in the personal care category. Designed to encourage children to wash their hands, it not only produces foam in shapes such as a flower, aeroplane, or footprint – it’s also refillable. The latter use case also featured in multiple winning products aimed at adults, including YSL’s Serum Reboot Refillable Pureshot, which took home the trophy for the premium skincare category in the PCD Awards.



Dates for ADF&PCD and PLD Paris 2021 have been confirmed as 20-21 January 2021. 


Welcoming PLD

This year saw the inaugural PLD (Packaging of Premium & Luxury Drinks) event, which attracted full teams from the likes of Martell Mumm Perrier Jouet, Remy Cointreau and others. The new PLD Talks theatre hosted a number of keynotes, including the public unveiling of Camus’ digital platform for hyper-personalised spirits packages. The approach blends technology with an ecosystem of craftspeople to offer exclusive runs of ‘made to measure’ packages for high-end customers – and at scale.

Elsewhere, PLD Talks emphasised the significant crossovers between the premium spirits and fragrances markets. As James Hartigan of Contagious noted, each is a mix of humble ingredients, which through the application of arts and science become much more than the sum of their parts. A number of sessions looked at exactly how each segment informs the other, as the event seeks to enable the cross-fertilisation of ideas and best practice across each of the segments it serves.


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