By Claire West

The latest products in the world of packaging will be pitched to industry expert 'Lions' at a Dragons' Den-inspired contest. The Lions' Lair will give four brave exhibitors an opportunity to pitch live to a panel of brand, retail and packaging experts.

Presented on the 7th October, the first day of the two day show at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. Designers and manufacturers will attempt to convince the Lions about the merits of their goods and that their product is worthy of a very public thumbs up (or thumbs down).

The three scary Lions, casting their critical eyes over an array of innovative products will include Dave Wiggins, head of confectionery and design at Nestlé Confectionery, Bob Cave, packaging specialist at PepsiCo and Packaging News editor Josh Brooks.

So.who dares to enter the Lions' Lair?

Leading developer of creative imaging technologies FFEI (stand GB46) will be the first company stepping into the ring. They will be hoping to grab the judge's attentions with their RealPro 3D-Packager software, a visualisation tool that is specifically designed to streamline packaging design and development.

Mark Ridgeway, software product manager at FFEI comments: "The creation of packaging prototypes is both expensive and time consuming, due to the abundance of special colours and finishes associated with high street brands. RealPro 3D- Packager not only greatly reduces both of these overheads, but also gives packaging development teams freedom to explore new design options before a physical mock up is commissioned.

"This freedom has the potential to drive exciting and new 'leap-off-the-shelf'
designs into product packaging in a very fast and cost-effective way. So we are confident it will attract the judges' attentions."

The second company trying to entice the Lions is packaging communication consultancy Reach (stand GB10). They are putting forward their unique co- creation process that involves consumers right at the beginning of the design strategy development process, before a creative brief or concepts have been produced.

Mark Rylands, creative partner at Reach claims he is ready to face the might of the Lions, "As far as we are aware, our process is completely unique. We involve consumers in a highly visual way - The benefits of the process are that we don't resolve challenges through design, so the process is more streamlined and effective.

"BUT, most importantly our process has proven to sell more product - maybe because instead of having a jolly time navel gazing with clients, or using a crystal ball, we use consumers to answer the questions we all ask want and need to ask".

Also looking to impress the Lions is PACK Innovation Ltd (stand GB29). The company will be demonstrating 'EASYSNAP' for the very first time to a UK audience. The product is a unique, patented mono-dose sachet concept for the direct replacement of traditional sachets and other single use dispensing solutions.

Chris Stevens, operations director at PACK Innovation Ltd explains: "For all of us who have ever cursed trying to open a sachet of ketchup with greasy fingers, or for all those parents with only two hands - a baby in one, a spoon in the other and a medicine bottle...or for anyone else who has ever broken the corner off of a plastic pot of jam only to have the foil lid stubbornly refuses to peel off, we have the answer!

"Its innovative opening system ensures 99% of the product is extracted from the pack with only one hand. No fuss, no mess. It has never been so easy to open a portion pack sachet - leaving the Lions 'snapping' for more!"

Testing his fate once again, against the roar of the Lions is Packaging Innovations exhibitor Food Packaging Resource (stand E6). Hoping to grip the judges' attention with their new 'Spooncup' product for cold drinks.

Michael Pipe, director at Food Packaging Resource comments: "Following on from our success at easyFairs® PACKAGING, Birmingham. We thought we'd update the audience - we've made significant progress in bringing the hot drink idea to market, and with some improvements to the product, which may just interest the judges.

Secondly, we have the cold drink idea to present. The idea involves inserting a specially designed stirrer into the domed lid, enabling the consumer to mix up the drink as desired, but at the same time still allowing the use of a straw, without the need to remove the lid or the stirrer when drinking the beverage - the Lions will be stirred."

The Lions' Lair contest will take place on the 7th October at 1pm, forming part of the easyFairs® learnShop programme with all four companies competing to receive the Lions' Lair accolade. To find out more about the competition or for any other information relating to the easyFairs® PACKAGING INNOVATIONS LONDON
visit: www.easyfairs.com/pi-london.

Visitors can also register to attend for free at the website. For further information contact the events' teams on 020 8622 4463 or email Shyam.Parmar@easyfairs.com.