Changing facets of packaging in the post pandemic era
The global packaging industry worth 900 billion USD is getting reshaped post the pandemic.
The world is changing at a fast pace and packaging is no different when it comes to adapting those changes. Fundamental shift is expected in the way packaging is designed going into the future. Packaging must move on from its traditional roles of cost saving, performance and consumer benefits to sustainability benefits, design with hygiene in mind and perform well in e-commerce. These fundamental shifts can help packaging companies grow as the user organisations will demand improved designs to meet the new consumer aspirations.
Let us look at some of the mega trends that will unfold:
1 . While it is right to say that sustainability has taken a back seat in the pandemic environment, it should be noted that key FMCG and e-commerce companies have been working at potential sustainable solutions, albeit at slow pace than expected. However, that is not to say that these companies have abandoned their sustainability goals.
With hygiene requirements leap frogging to the apex of the consumer demand pyramid, companies might have to dovetail their sustainability plan. Low hanging fruits which do not have any effect on consumer use, efficiency in operations etc., will be gobbled up first. For e.g., removing unwanted packaging or adding recycled material in non-sensitive applications. Designers will be forced to look at tougher options considering circular economy and reducing the overall impact while the packaging material is produced. This can be achieved by close working between convertors, consumers, brand owners and raw material suppliers.
2. Consumers have drastically increased their involvement with online grocery shopping. This will have major implications for packaging design as today’s packaging is designed for the typical retail route and not for e-commerce. Future designs for e- com must factor creating consumer delight, reducing damage in handling, ease of filing and removal from secondary packs, track and trace etc.
3. Category and product preferences might undergo a major change with consumers demanding extra attention to health and hygienic products which will have ramifications in how packaging is designed. Today consumers are paranoid whenever a product delivered to their homes. Elaborate cleaning and disinfecting methods are used depending upon the product. This has resulted in a whole new range of cleaners hitting the shelves e.g., fruit and vegetable washing products. The earlier trend of avoiding single use packaging and carrying one’s own recyclable bags have taken a back seat in the pandemic era. Designs will have to feature better dispensing, closing mechanisms, tamper evident and have minimalistic touch points before consumption (in case of food, beverages and personal care products)
4. As consumers demand value, there is immense pressure on FMCG companies, packaging convertors and raw material suppliers to reduce cost in general. This has already taken shape in light weighting of packaging, reduced head space, underfill to retain sensitive price points etc. This trend is expected to further accelerate and accentuate cost reduction.
5. Digitization is expected to improve efficiencies in value chain with the use of AI etc. Costs will be optimised with real time tracking taking a front seat in showcasing transparency in supply chain. Innovative packaging designs incorporating RFID’s etc will become the new norms in the determining the design.
With all the changes that are bound to take place in the post-pandemic world, brands should be equipped to embrace them all. They must correctly use the power of packaging to leverage themselves and gain an edge in the market.
At Packfora, we offer expert solutions which encompass all your packaging needs, helping your brand attain the competitive edge over others.
Mr. Pradeep Nair
Principal Consultant at Packfora LLP.
Pradeep Nair is an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) and has an experience of 30+ years in the Packaging Industry. He has worked with top-rated FMCG companies like ITC and Unilever, leading functions across R&D, Packaging Design, Product Innovations, Supply Chain Management and Continuous Improvement.
Currently, Mr. Pradeep Nair is a Principal Consultant at Packfora LLP.