The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered the world as we know it, causing significant disruption across industries. The packaging industry is no exception and will need to adapt to the changing environment to survive. With over four decades of experience, we have been at the forefront of innovative packaging solutions. This is what we think will be the impact on the packaging industry in this unprecedented time.
Food Packaging Will Change
Although it is unlikely that COVID-19 will spread through food or food packaging, food safety management protocols will be tightened to protect food industry personnel and produce. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that primarily spreads through person-to-person contact. Good hygiene practices, sanitation, and zoning will now be strictly regulated to eliminate or reduce the risk of packaging materials becoming contaminated with the virus. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, etc., will now be mandatory.
Plastics May Return for a Short While
The packaging industry has been looking for sustainable solutions to reduce environmental impact. While this continues to be the long-term goal, the demand for plastic-based packaging materials will be huge, at least in the short term. Plastic is affordable, long-lasting, and more accessible to source when compared to other eco-friendly alternatives. We’ve already seen some businesses resorting to disposable packaging supplies instead of reusable ones to avoid transmission risk.
Reassessing the Supply Chain
Industries are reassessing their supply chain policies to prepare for contingencies and avoid any disruption in the future. It is similar to the packaging industry, looking to reduce its reliance on any country and focus instead on domestic suppliers. For example, supermarket chains in Australia have commented that packaging supplies have become hard to obtain because of factory closures in China. The packaging sector is vast, mature, and resilient. It has withered much crisis and witnessed healthy growth over the years across multiple industries. This may be a difficult time for some segments of the sector, but as a whole, the packaging sector will evolve at a much faster rate to support the new supply and demand from industries and consumers.