Coronavirus is a game changer for packaging. The pandemic has rendered safety and hygiene key considerations for consumers who will be receptive to active packaging that helps avoid food waste and anti-pathogenic solutions to reduce contamination. More sustainable packaging and recovery systems such as recycling, renewable materials and returnable models are an inevitable transformation. So is e-commerce, which commands new shockproof designs and a compelling shopping and unboxing experience.
With COVID-19, packaging’s core functions of product protection and preservation have gained value in the eye of the consumer who suddenly worries about viral contamination and access to retail. Despite some tangible challenges - not least a vast and complex quest for sustainability and increasing recessionary conditions - the forecast period offers real opportunities for technological advances in packaging to meet changing consumer demands and to ultimately create social, environmental and economic value.
The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered safety and hygiene more vital to consumers around the globe. New coatings and active packaging show promise in prolonging the shelf life of fresh foods. Anti-pathogenic packaging especially for foods, and touchless solutions in beauty, are other areas of future development.
Concerns over packaging’s environmental impact may have taken a backseat with the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak; but the endeavour to “close the loop” is here to stay. Increasing the recyclability of hard-to-recycle packaging is among the key routes of innovation. Decreasing virgin plastics usage with renewable materials offers potential, but adopting returnable models presents particularly strong sustainability benefits.
COVID-19 has accelerated the shift towards digital living and e-commerce. With this transition comes demand for pack innovations that enable faster delivery and better content protection from shock or temperature variations. Opportunities to convey indulgence, excitement through the unboxing experience and “Instagram appeal” will be particularly valuable in foods and beauty.
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