It’s not often that we stop to consider the critical role that a professional packaging company plays in the economy, let alone in our everyday lives. The packaging industry is crucial to the global supply chain. Packaging, whether it’s shipping containers, plastic tubs, or steel barrels, is critical for moving products from one location to another.
Packaged products are particularly essential in this time of global economic and health uncertainty. It plays an important role in keeping the globe safe and healthy, whether it’s for hand sanitizer, vaccinations, medical testing kits, personal protective equipment, or food products.
Your food products must be delivered in protective packaging to make it into the store safely. Protective packaging is required to deliver your smartphone, laptop, or tv to your house. It is also required to transport medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and vaccinations to hospitals.
Read on to find out the most noticeable changes seen in the packaging industry as a result of COVID-19.
Coffee subscription services are one economic sector that has witnessed a surge in demand as a result of eCommerce’s meteoric rise. Consumers are flocking to businesses that bring specialty coffee to their doorstep, as per CNN.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging is also becoming more popular as eCommerce expands (MAP). Shopping excursions are fewer and further between during a health crisis, and many consumers purchase their products online for delivery to their homes or companies. As a result, longer-lasting products are in high demand.
Companies that are currently overburdened are simply attempting to stay up. They now lack the time or resources to undertake large-scale R&D projects or innovation efforts. However, well-positioned organizations who are suffering the reverse – a slowdown in business – now have a rare opportunity to use this time to improve their efficiency, explore new ideas, and come out stronger than ever following this crisis.
Manufacturers and contract packagers were already suffering from labor scarcity prior to this pandemic. This scarcity has now been aggravated and complicated by a world unsure of how to negotiate a global health catastrophe while still conducting business.
Some businesses are having difficulty persuading their staff to show up for work. On their manual packaging lines, some are having trouble maintaining social distance. Others are experiencing a surge in demand but are unable to fill the roles required to keep up.
When things are “business as usual,” packaging technology minimizes reliance on the inefficiencies of human labor, and it becomes much more vital amid a global health catastrophe. A single operator can efficiently run many packaging machines instead of numerous personnel squeezed into a tiny packaging area. Furthermore, automating packaging procedures reduces human handling, improving productivity, safety, and consistency.
For many years, the packaging sector has been pushed to be more sustainable and waste-free. While such issues are still real and crucial in the long run, the advantage of single-use packaging is clear at a time when there is a greater emphasis on hygiene.
Consumers want to know that their product and its packaging have been handled by as few persons as possible during a health catastrophe like the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the early stages of the pandemic, many eateries were forced to close or offer just take-out or delivery services. Even after food businesses reopened in certain places, with many consumers out of employment or fearful of future economic uncertainty, restaurant visits have dropped dramatically. Consumer hoarding of food products, on the other hand, means that grocery retailers are still struggling to keep shelves stocked.
This changing demand was documented in a March 2020 study by Packaging World: The main problem for 21 percent of CPG respondents was keeping up with demand. Almost the same percentage of CPG respondents (19%) indicated the opposite issue: their main obstacle was declining demand.
Companies that claim exploding packaged food demand primarily service grocery stores, whereas CPGs that report plunging packaged food demand primarily serve restaurants.
CPG companies serving both the retail and foodservice segments continue to face challenges, mostly due to supply chain disruptions and suppliers unable to keep up with shifting demand.
Packaged products such as food, medications, and medical equipment face higher demand during a health crisis. Contract packagers and manufacturers are realizing that they need to ramp up output quickly.
What is the solution? Packaging equipment that may be ordered on demand from providers that maintain machinery on hand for speedy delivery. The need for in-stock packaging equipment that can be shipped to customers practically instantly has reached new heights.
Foods that are processed to be shelf-stable for extended durations are enjoying a return during a time when customers are encouraged (or required) to remain at home for weeks at a time.
Consumers are hoarding convenient pre-packaged processed foods, fearful of probable quarantine and instructions to stay at home. This is a significant shift from prior market patterns, which valued fresh, preservative-free goods.
As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, the world has changed drastically. Some of the adjustments will most likely be transitory, while others will have far-reaching implications for the packaging industry. The good news is that this industry is in high demand and has a long-term outlook. According to Moody’s, COVID-19 has a minimal economic effect on the packaging and food processing industries, among others.
We might never be able to return to how things used to be after surviving this storm together. However, we can establish a “new normal”.