How has COVID-19 Impacted the Challenges of Packagers?

Each year Liquid Packaging Solutions tries to set out what we see, or what other industry experts see as the Packaging Trends for the coming year. Understanding trends, including consumer desires, can help packagers plan for their own products, adjusting the wants and needs of customers and the industry as a whole. Last year, however, some trends in the industry were interrupted or suspended due to the widespread pandemic. In 2021, the trends in the beginning of the year may differ from those at the end of the year based on control of the coronavirus, so that we have slightly shifted our first of the year article to look at the changes the pandemic has caused in the industry.

SUSTAINABILITY

While sustainability still may not have a single, universal definition in the packaging industry, the general definition of the term is more or less agreed upon. Sustainability in the packaging industry is achieved by using recyclable and environmentally friendly materials that are safe for people and the environment while reducing waste so as not to compromise future generations and their own needs. Though industry continues to work toward sustainable packaging, some progress has been slowed or suspended due to the virus, mainly due to consumer demands.

SINGLE USE PLASTIC CONTAINERS

As noted in a Plug And Play article by Saul Menjivar entitles "COVID-19's Impact on the Packaging Industry", reducing single use plastic containers has been a goal of the packaging industry around the world. However, the coronavirus has put that goal at odds with consumer desired in the last year. With fear of spreading the virus through the re-use of containers, this fight to reduce such waste has slowed or moved backwards in some locales. While this trend is likely to reverse course once the threat of COVID-19 is under control, for now some countries are allowing more single use containers to be used to quell consumer fears.

CURBSIDE PICKUP AND E-COMMERCE

Probably the most obvious change in shopping has been the growth of shop-at-home, delivery and e-commerce for a number of products. Changes in shopping habits may lead to changes in the overall packaging of products for packagers and retailers. In addition, certain products have been more in demand during the coronavirus, another change that will likely return to "normal" as the virus comes under control. Companies may change their own packaging if they are forced to do more direct-to-consumer shipping versus shipping pallets of product to a retailer. In addition, packagers may modify packaging as well as marketing to ensure consumers feel safe ordering direct online rather than grabbing a product from a shelf.

LPS has worked, and will continue to work, individually with packagers to meet their own specific needs and desires as they change with pandemic. From higher demand to changes in packages and packaging processes, LPS understands that while there are changing overall trends in the packaging industry, this does not mean every packager will need or want the same changes to meet these changes head on. From simple tabletop machinery to fully automatic packaging lines, the goal of LPS in 2021 is to continue help packagers with their own goals to keep their customers happy and safe.

For more information and examples of how the packaging industry has reacted and changed due to COVID-19, check out the full article "COVID-19's Impact on the Packaging Industry" by Saul Menjivar.