After a four-year absence, PACK EXPO International returned as an in-person event bigger than before. The packaging conference and exhibition welcomed more than 44,000 attendees, with 2,200 exhibitors showing their latest packaging and processing solutions across more than 1.2 million square feet at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

“The success of PACK EXPO is a testament to our industry’s continued growth as well as PMMI’s commitment to bringing the industry together to share cutting-edge innovations,” says Jim Pittas, president and CEO, PMMI. “No other event this year showcased so many end-to-end solutions, offering attendees everything they need to compete in a changing marketplace.

Exhibiting professionals like Jeff Kaplan, vice president of integrated systems, Hamrick Packaging Systems, noticed attendees came ready to make decisions about future purchases and to see the latest technology in action, which is a good sign.

“For our industry, the economy looks like it will be robust in 2023. Customers are acting on buying automation and not just talking about it,” Kaplan says.

Mark Navin, vice president of sales with exhibiting company Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, says, “We’re very happy to be back after four years. Monday was the best day at a trade show event ever. Visitors at the booth had funded projects to discuss, and actual details for purchase.”

Like the attendees and exhibitors, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery editors arrived at PACK EXPO eager to get a look at the new equipment, materials, and other sights at the event. Many exhibitors showed off compact machines, emphasized remote monitoring capabilities, and highlighted flexibility. Walk through the highlights of the event in our slideshow above.