By now, most of us are likely getting used to social distancing, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer non-stop and the craziness the first three-quarters of the year was. But what has the pandemic brought to the packaging space?
Now more than ever, packaging safety is a top priority — not just for pharmaceuticals and certain foods requiring temperature, moisture or other control measures. In order to navigate today’s world, safety is of concern to every consumer, retailer and packager alike.
A large part of safety is that of the equipment used to package the products. Not only do packaging and processing employees need to be healthy and safe, but the equipment they work with does as well. Shoppers are becoming aware of the hygiene and safety necessary during the packaging process.
Think about it — before COVID-19, there was a push to limit packaging of consumer goods and move away from single-use materials. To make sure products inside a package are clean and not contaminated, packaging must be safe — and go back to single-use items, such as hand sanitizer sachets and the like. Same goes for reusable bags at grocery stores. Many have banned these for now, due to fear of contamination.
Consumers are at home more. Many companies won’t bring back employees until next year. Don’t be fooled: Folks at home are still concerned with sustainability measures, by brand owners, retailers and their packaging. If you have a product, say for beauty, that does right by the environment as well as includes product packaging that is compostable or recyclable or the like, it’s a win-win for consumers.
Brand owners, as well as retailers, have a rather large responsibility lately: To create safe packaging, try to make it as sustainable as possible and have a safe, non-contaminant space for shoppers to purchase their goods.
With the pandemic came a rise in ecommerce, due in part to the product shortages in-store as well as not going out in public places. More store brands on online shopping platforms and more shoppers buying online. In fact, a national DS Smith survey found that the pandemic might have permanently changed Americans’ buying habits, with 85% of online shoppers saying they will continue to shop online at the same level or more, even after stay-at-home rules are lifted.
For more on ecommerce in today’s world, see our spotlight feature “Finding a Partner for Ecommerce Growth”. And, the PACK EXPO Connects Show section, which includes more detailed information on the event.