Innovation Insight for the SA Brands’ Packaging Industry

Packaging innovation specialists seeks to help South African packaging sector compete better in the world’s packaging closure market

Arno Rabie, Managing Director of UK package innovation marketing strategists, Smooth HIP Ltd, is no stranger to brand packaging in South Africa. Not only is he South African by birth, but has spent considerable time in Europe, and of late is helping to nurture innovation and encourage the addition of added value in South African on projects in the packaging industry sector.

Arno Rabie has over 25 years’ international experience, including 15 years in the Southern African markets, as well as an extensive industrial network he has built throughout Asia and Europe.

He is a man who is very much in demand internationally for his expertise in innovation. He was invited to Crain's Conference in Nice (France) in November 2015 as guest speaker on “Trends in the International Closures’ Industry and to speak at Berlin’s AIM conference in June 2015 on “Innovation and Added Value in Updates in the Packaging Industry”, where he was possibly the only invited South African key note speaker in the conference’s history. Arno has also featured for his innovation and insights in international magazines such as “Plastics in Packaging” and “Injection World Magazine”.

He says: “Having worked over the past few years with global package manufacturers such as German-company Bericap as just one example, with its 22 factories in 19 countries, I have found many thoughts and concepts that can be turned into profitable reality come to light!

“There seems to be a lack of innovation management across packaging companies in South Africa that needs to be addressed if the companies are to compete more successfully and become more profitable for Brands. They need to cast aside their traditional and rather old values, in particular, keeping in line with traditional marketing and brand managers creative team objectives, and break out. The Packaging innovation can become key to marketing strategy.

He aims to help facilitate innovation by working with and offering innovative collaboration on projects. Having spent time with packaging managers in companies such as Danone, Britvic and Tesco (the largest retailer in Europe), he possesses the valuable insight to facilitate a change in the outlook and approach to creative bridging with manufacturers’ opportunities with low investment innovation and projects with the brand teams. He hopes this will encourage a valuable and ultimately bottom-line change in manufacturers’ outlook for investment in product innovation with the brand. The greatest impact on the consumer retention is the influence and experience with the package through use.

Resultant from his recent base in South Africa, Arno is now in the position of bringing this vital information in-house to both the project and research and development teams in packaging manufacturing companies and brands. He says that the key legislation with regards to EU packaging constraints for South Africa also have an impact, and that South African manufacturers have to stay updated (with EU legislation), otherwise it can cost them dearly.

“Innovation is the key and I want to ensure I can pass on the vital necessity of project and research and development collaboration between teams in South African packaging manufacturing companies and brands.

 “Consider the printing of electronics and sensors with ink and their interaction with products, even packaging. This brings an entire new era to low investment innovation for manufacturers and brands Many innovators and their projects lack a full view of the picture of understanding manufacturer’s restrictions and outlook. Neither do they know the brand’s greater objectives not having the ability to merge them with a low investment product’s added value for the consumer able to absorb the product price. This limits new packaging innovation ventured by the brands for the consumables’ industry.

“To impact and survive on international markets and become key world players, I want to demonstrate to South African packaging companies precisely how that they can do this and subsequently increase their bottom lines.”

He concludes: “While working on projects in SA, I am taking the opportunity to offer packaging companies some invaluable insight into different brands outlooks, coupled with guidance that I will share in a one-day workshop. It is my intention to also share consumer trends from Europe, some guides from the biggest retailer in Europe. In addition, I propose to condense some vital information from these conferences considering the huge lack in SA representation. However, I also aim to understand each company's customer needs for their consumers and to offer added value for product development. The consumer retention is the result with the experience with the package through use that is becoming more critical with product diversification.

For further information on how Arno Rabie can help you innovate more successfully and profitably, please contact him at: Arno Rabie at



  • Dakota Digital