• Thank you, Brussels!

    Thank you, Brussels!

    John Penhallow October 10, 2014
    Many people in Europe do not love the European Union, and still less do they love its administrative wing, the European Commission. But for once the Eurocrats of Brussels have enacted some legislation which seems to meet with general approval and whi…

  • The end of the United Kingdom?

    The end of the United Kingdom?

    John Penhallow September 9, 2014
    North American readers surely have more important things to worry about than Scotland’s referendum, but just to remind you that on Thursday, September 18 of this year, when Scots go to the polls to vote on independence – a “yes&rdqu…

  • Expressing shelf appeal

    John Penhallow July 21, 2014
    One of the lesser revelations at the FINAT Congress in Monaco in June was the difficulty, for the association’s secretariat, of translating this year’s theme – “the battle for shelf appeal” into French. The nation that h…

  • Could this be the next revolution?

    Could this be the next revolution?

    June 2, 2014
    For more than ten years people in the PS label industry have been arguing and discussing the digital revolution, and the effects have indeed been revolutionary. But those of us who take a long-term view of technology, politics or indeed life in gener…

  • Getting certified

    Getting certified

    John Penhallow April 15, 2014
    Some things change: in the recent weeks of unseasonably mild, sunny weather, many citizens of Western Europe have changed over to thinking that maybe global warming isn’t such a bad thing after all. However this early spring has come right on t…

  • No recession in pharmaceutical labels and packaging

    No recession in pharmaceutical labels and packaging

    John Penhallow March 13, 2014
    It is an established fact that the French are Europe’s leading pill-pushers. However, that is surely not the only reason for the success of the Pharmapack show, held in late February in Paris. The themes of the show can be counted on one hand:…

  • Belgian blues

    Belgian blues

    John Penhallow January 24, 2014
    Mark Twain’s advice for making money was “Buy shares, wait for them to go up, then sell. If they don’t go up, don’t buy them.” Fund managers with the Bencis Capital Partners might possibly be pondering that piece of home…

  • The best of both worlds

    The best of both worlds

    John Penhallow November 21, 2013
    If you come from the German-speaking part of Italy, you need to acquire the best of both worlds: Italian flair combined with German precision. And if you are combining these successfully while building narrow web digital presses in the town of Brixen…

  • A world without packaging

    A world without packaging

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor October 14, 2013
    A symposium with this provocative title took place recently in Belgium. Among the speakers was Bruno Ponsard from the Montreal Institut des Emballages et du Génie Alimentaire (non-French-speaking readers should note that Génie has nothi…

  • Could this be a silver lining?

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor September 13, 2013
    It is starting to happen at last. And it’s not just Angela Merkel, François Hollande and José Manuel Barroso trying to pull Europe up by its bootstraps. No lesser authority than The Economist has just gone on record as announcing:…

  • Record setting

    Record setting

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor July 17, 2013
    It is a fact not widely known (i.e. your correspondent has just found out) that the feast-day of John the Baptist, on June 24, is also the ‘fête des imprimeurs’. The French city of Strasburg this year used the occasion to celebrate…

  • Forty years on

    Forty years on

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor May 31, 2013
    There has been much comment in the world’s press to mark the anniversary of the day in 1973 when a packet of chewing gum was adorned with the world’s first bar code. It is hard to imagine a world not only without bar codes and digital…

  • Always look on the bright side…

    Always look on the bright side…

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor April 10, 2013
    If the future looks bleak for you, take comfort in the fact that it could be worse. You might for example be the organizer of Ipex, which used to be billed (unofficially) as Britain’s answer to Dusseldorf-based Interpack. The German packaging s…

  • Horses for courses

    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor March 13, 2013
    Several years ago, a number of cases of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “Mad Cow Disease” were diagnosed in England and several other European countries. Beef sales nosedived, and there was an export ban covering all countries where t…

  • Fearing migration

    Fearing migration

    January 23, 2013
    Many European countries, most notably Germany and Britain, seem to have an almost pathological fear of migration. Not the kind that has boat people landing in quiet creeks (though lots of people are afraid of that too), but the migration of nasty che…

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