Organizers CMP said that the show was the biggest to date, with more floor space and exhibitors than ever before. This year marks the sixth consecutive HBA show, and its continued success has meant growth each and every year.
Re-signing by last year's exhibitors ran at 85 per cent, and an extra 500 square meters of exhibitor space was put on to accommodate for added demand.
Exhibitors acknowledged that the show itself was well organized and that they had undertaken some important business negotiations, though a number reported that the aisles seemed quiet at times and that there were not too many new faces around.
But is was clear that business was being carried out at the show, with many companies claiming they had confirmed lucrative deals on the stands.
Packaging businesses were out in force. For the very reason that the packaging of beauty products commands such a significant part of the total manufacturing costs, it has always played a prominent part in this event.
All the major international players were there, including Crown, Eastman, Curtis and Rex. Naturally innovations, new packaging designs and new packaging materials were in abundance.
However, some of the most eye-catching packaging innovation came from smaller players. One in particular combined both a toiletry and a packaging product.
Spongeable is a novel product that combines both a soap and a sponge all in one. Developed and manufactured by Los Angeles-based SpongeTech, the product is said to last for up to 30 showers and to exfoliate, massage, cleanse and moisturize the skin all in one.
Responding to increasing demands for products that can be used on the go or that travel easily, it is a hypo-allergenic sponge infused with natural glycerin-and-olive-all-based soap. The company claims that the a patent-pending technology allows for the timed release of the soap, which quickly generates a rich lather.
On similar lines to the Spongeables, HandsFree Specialty Tubes were promoting their latest innovation - a new tool component that can be attached to the sealed end of the any type of its flexible tubes. This device allows functions such as scraping, shaving razors, brushes, combs and polishing tools to be incorporated into the product packaging.
Intelligent and multi-functional packaging has been the driving force behind the cosmetics and toiletry packaging industry in recent years, and this is exactly what the panel of judges chose to recognize at the event's International Package Design Awards.
This year the awards covered ten categories, which included cosmetics, hair care, skin care, personal care and fragrance packaging. Highlights included two category wins for Proctor & Gamble. The Cosmetics Mass category was awarded for P&G's Cover Girl Outlast All-Day Liquid Make-up, while its Olay White Radiance won the Mass Skin Care category.
One of the most striking packaging designs came from La Prarie, which received the top prize in the Limited Fragrance category for its metal-effect raindrop-shaped perfume package.
Individual achievements were also recognised within this category. Lorraine Ahart, vice president of package development at Victoria's Secret was awarded Packaging Executive of the Year, while the New Product R&D Technical Team Award went to Isabelle Hansenne, vice president Corporate R&D Skincare.
For the first time the ceremony also featured the International Technology Awards, which acknowledged Lipotec for New Technology on Eyeseryl, while National Starch received the Technology Marketing Award for its dissolvable film.
The growing prominence of the awards and the increased number of categories reflects the importance of packaging within the beauty business, now being driven by demands for increased functionality and shelf appeal. Some of these innovations were unimaginable just a few years ago, which may make many of us wonder what we will be seeing at future shows.