Savvier Consumers Driving Packaging Innovation: Michael Richmond, HAVI Global Solutions

In interview, Richmond previews Focal Point 2015 presentation
Oct 6, 2015 7:10 AM ET

Co-founder of Packaging and Technology Integrated Solutions (PTIS), Michael Richmond is a strategic business and technical leader with 30 years of experience with consumer packaged goods companies including Kellogg's and Kraft, and both research and teaching at Michigan State University in the School of Packaging. Richmond is a featured presenter at Focal Point 2015: Paper-Based Food Packaging and Serviceware. He will present "Packaging Thought Leaders Insight: Changes and Trends Affecting Paper Based Products." We asked him to share a few thoughts in advance of the October 20 conference.

Registration for the conference is online at

See program details and speaker bios on the conference website

WIST: Briefly describe your role and the role of Packaging Technology Integrated Solutions, HAVI Global Solutions and how it relates to the packaging industry.  

Michael Richmond: My role as a Vice President of Consulting services for HAVI Global Solutions is working with executive decision makers across our industry to help them not only with the strategic direction required to advance their business forward, but also to provide that vital lens looking to the future and providing assistance with things that are going to affect their business in the years to come.


WIST: One of the areas you plan to talk about at Focal Point is “the changing consumer.” What is one example of a change in consumer behavior or demand that packaging or converting enterprises should be accounting for?  

Michael Richmond: Consumers are much savvier today. The rate at which technology is changing and new innovation is influencing our industry today is moving at a rate we have never seen before. Organizations need better, faster, solutions for consumers and customers.  The market is demanding it.

WIST: You’ve been deeply involved in the packaging industry for 30 years. What is the biggest change you’ve noted in what is driving innovation in packaging today compared to earlier in your career?  

Michael Richmond: Because of the explosive growth of technology, and the influence across every aspect of our business, packaging and technology teams need to be true collaborative business partners at the table together. Packaging is enabling new product development, where packaging is being looked at as a growth vehicle, a true brand expression, and not just something to protect the product.

WIST: The word “sustainability” gets used a lot and in many different contexts. To what extent do you think the packaging industry and consumers understand this term in the same way?  

Michael Richmond: Ask ten consumers what sustainably means to them, and you may get ten different answers. Even though you get a different perspective from each person, make no mistake, it is top-of-mind.  We are becoming more and more sensitive to the social responsibility and transparency we all share.  Consumers recognize and are embracing that we need to be smarter and do a better job of taking care of our planet and packaging plays a key role from manufacture to distribution to disposal and now to reuse.


About the conference:

Focal Point 2015: Paper-Based Food Packaging and Serviceware is hosted by the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Details including speaker bios and presentation overviews are on the conference website.

Attend this conference to:

  • Gain insights from leading converting companies about future needs and trends in paper and paperboard packaging
  • Hear from industry experts on a number of innovations targeting superior performance in paper- and paperboard-based food packaging and serviceware
  • Learn about end-of-life management practices that improve environmental footprints 

About the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology:

The Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) provides research, laboratory services, and education to business and industry. It is an entrepreneurial organization, working to bring new ideas and innovation from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to the private sector. Research includes biofuels, renewably sourced chemicals from biomass, and value-added uses of agricultural and forestry residuals from processing. Laboratory services include paper testing, paper grade development, compostability, and other analyses such as ion chromatography for carbohydrates, organic acids and alcohols. The institute manages and provides contract services on a Fourdrinier pilot paper machine and a Faustel pilot coating and laminating line. WIST educational offerings include papermaking courses and topics in sustainability.