By Julie Ackerman, senior director, PR and Communications, PMMI

In 1978, the U.S. military, Reynolds Metal Co. and Continental Flexible Packaging developed a retort pouch to store troops’ field rations. Today, retort pouches package a wide range of consumer goods, from beverages and soups to baby food and pet food.

Widespread adoption of the retort pouch is a good example of how impactful technologies can be — across industries — and based on the cross-pollination of ideas.

This fall, PACK EXPO International 2014 takes place November 2-5, at McCormick Place in Chicago. It is North America’s largest trade show for processing and packaging professionals and will draw more than 50,000 attendees and 2,000 exhibitors from over 40 vertical markets.

The year also marks Pharma EXPO’s debut, a co-located show produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE). Pharma EXPO will provide world-class educational opportunities and access to the latest technologies in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and medical device industries.

Food Looks to Pharma

Food producers, learning to comply with evolving Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations, would do well to look to other industries for guidance on enhancing product safety without sacrificing operational efficiency.

Many pharmaceutical manufacturers have successfully implemented preventative measures and reporting structures from which food manufactures could benefit, such as sanitary equipment design and robust applications of track-and-trace technology. In both cases, the parallels between pharmaceutical and food manufacturing are clear. 

Pharma Looks to Food

Likewise, when it comes to refrigeration systems and energy efficiency, the pharmaceutical industry can turn to food manufacturing for expertise. The refrigeration techniques so crucial to pharmaceutical as well as food processing plants can account for more than half of each type of facility’s energy use. That makes efficiency and cost-effectiveness of these systems very important considerations.

Food processors have made energy efficiency a top priority, which has improved profit margins and increased competitiveness. If pharmaceutical manufacturers follow food manufacturers’ lead, developing integrated optimization and automation strategies for refrigeration systems, they can greatly increase their energy efficiency and reduce costs.

In Chicago this November 

The proximity of PACK EXPO International and Pharma EXPO will create fertile ground, where ideas gleaned from other industries can take root. With thousands of cutting-edge technologies and educational opportunities at their disposal, attendees at both shows can seize opportunities and fuel inspiration for new ideas.

To register for PACK EXPO International and Pharma EXPO, visit A discounted registration fee of $30 applies through October 3 and increases to $60 thereafter.

Julie Ackerman is senior director, PR and Communications, PMMI

PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a trade association representing over 650 packaging and processing supply-chain companies for packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI brings buyers and sellers together through programs and events.


Coming Up:

EXPO PACK México 2014, June 17–20 (Mexico City, Mexico);

PACK EXPO International 2014, November 2–5 (McCormick Place, Chicago);

PACK EXPO East, debuting February 16–18, 2015 (Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia);

EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2015, March 10–12, 2015 (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico).

Learn more about PMMI and the PACK EXPO trade shows at and