In 2021, all industries were seeing an increase in the usage of sustainable packaging materials as consumers, retailers and manufacturers became more aware of the growing impact of packaging on the environment. Tesco, for example, changed the packaging material used in its dairy products.
Sustainability is a key trend that has been developing strongly in the UK, with consumers and manufacturers continuing to become more aware of the environmental impact of plastics. This led consumers to opt for recyclable or refillable packaged products to reduce their carbon footprint.
With consumers becoming more aware of the environmental impact of plastic and the government increasing curbs on the application of single-use plastic, this is putting pressure on industry players to reduce the use of plastic, with manufacturers and retailers undertaking initiatives to reduce plastic waste in their products in 2021. Tesco, for example, introduced shelf-ready cardboard packaging in place of plastic trays to avoid unnecessary plastic waste.
The packaging unit volumes used in processed meat and seafood recorded strong growth in 2020. The closure of foodservice outlets contributed to this, as consumers cooked more meals at home.
In 2021, consumers preferred to purchase dog and cat food products in packaging that was like human food packaging for its convenience, freshness and sustainability. This resulted in a surge in demand for stand-up pouches with convenient closures, such as zip/press closures, as it extends the freshness of the product.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of the foodservice channel, which reduced overall consumption and growth in soft drinks. However, 2021 saw a revival in this channel as people were leaving their homes more and with live sporting events returning, seeing consumers starting to consume more soft drinks in the on-trade.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumption through the on-trade channel suffered due to the closure of such outlets as well as the strict restrictions limiting the movement of consumers. However, the off-trade channel flourished as stores that sold alcohol remained open and consumers had access to them.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, packaging types in various categories rebounded after their decline during the pandemic. After a long period of being indoors, people spent more time outside their homes as offices reopened and socialising returned.
Demand for home care packaging remained stronger in 2021 than its pre-pandemic levels. Consumers were still focusing on hygiene and improving their sanitation habits.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Packaging industry in United Kingdom with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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