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Meeting changing packaging needs brought upon by the pandemic

 2021-09-29       91

The pandemic has profoundly impacted all aspects of our lifestyle, including the significant change in our purchasing behaviour. In today's world of safe distancing and lockdowns,8 shopping habits have significantly shifted from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce, leading to an increase in global online sales. According to Digital Commerce 360, global online sales increased 24% from 2019 to 2020, reaching nearly US$4.29 trillion last year. The Asia Pacific region accounted for a significant piece of the pie, with a 62.6% market share.


At the same time, the pandemic has impacted how consumers view food safety and security. Although the virus cannot transmit through food, it has brought upon the need for safer food packaging and delivery.

These rapid shifts have important implications for relevant businesses. For packaging manufacturers, this mean that they have to relook at current processes and packaging elements to establish business sustainability while meeting changing market requirements. 


Here are some elements that consumer goods packaging manufacturers can consider when reviewing their existing processes:


1.SUSTAINABILITY


Before the pandemic, companies were already actively looking for ways to increase sustainability in their operations. In the food and beverage industry, a growing number of businesses stopped providing plastic straws, and relevant organisations formed partnerships to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. For instance, one of the most reputable manufacturers of probiotic drinks in Singapore stopped providing single-use plastic straws, and a drink manufacturer in Indonesia introduced 100% recycled PET for bottled water.


However, due to the fear that reusable packaging would carry the virus and increase transmissions, consumers have grown dependent on takeaways and single-use plastic bags when shopping for groceries. Nevertheless, the spike in takeaways and single-use plastic bags have created a demand for sustainable food packaging solutions.


Currently, there are many recyclable or biodegradable packaging options in the market.


  • Recyclable packaging is made of reusable material that can be converted into other materials after processing

  • Biodegradable refers to any material that can be decomposed by bacteria and micro-organisms and will return to nature in a relatively short time.


While all compostable material is biodegradable, not all biodegradable material is compostable. The primary difference between the two is that while biodegradable materials return to nature, they disappear entirely and sometimes leave a metal residue. But packaging made out of compostable materials is the most ideal option as it can fully disintegrate into natural elements, like soil, in about 90 days. They do not leave any distinguishable traces behind so that they won't produce any toxins during this decomposition process. All compostable packaging items are made from natural materials, which is not necessarily the case for the more common biodegradable packaging.


However, compostable packaging needs to meet stricter material requirements, such as being fully compostable, even down to the adhesive component. Packaging manufacturers can find out more about our BPI-certified, compostable hot melt technology, which ensures that the discarded packaging fully decomposes. 


2.DIGITAL PRINTING ON E-COMMERCE PACKAGING


The increasing reliance on e-commerce will transform digital shops into the convenience store of the future. To stand out from the crowd, more e-shop owners are turning to creative ways to package their goods, and this is where packaging manufacturers can work with them to produce materials that reflect their own identity.


For instance, they can explore the option of digital printing, one of the most recent e-commerce packaging trends. It allows the easy drawing of images and graphics such as QR codes, RFID tech, and augmented reality on the packaging materials – incuding carton boxes. This encourages consumers to interact with them, hence creating a much impactful buyer-seller relationship. 


Digital printing on high-quality cartons will elevate a brand's image among consumers. However, it is also equally important that the boxes can withhold the load, and at the same time keep them secure and intack throughout the delivery journey. This is why having the suitable case and carton sealing adhesive will ensure superior adhesion and eliminate pop-opens. For instance, with Bostik's Kizen® PROS case and carton sealing adhesive , packaging manufacturers can guarantee that their customers can give consumers the peace of mind that their products are safely stored within the case and carton.  


3.FOOD SAFETY AND FRESHNESS


With the increased scrutiny surrounding the impact of single-use plastics, consumers are pivoting towards sustainable food packaging options. This has led to the surge of resealable packaging and flexible packaging. 


In an increasingly waste-conscious world, resealability means unfinished food can be kept for another time, reducing food wastage. Resealable packaging ensures that the food can be kept securely and stay fresh. It also provides other myriads of benefits, including reducing spillages, extended shelf-life, ingress of flavours, preventing further product contamination, convenience and easy storage. 


Through this packaging design, consumers can retain the food item in the original packaging and not add additional plastic film, foil, bags or containers to store it. When paired with resealable adhesives that are highly compatible with all lidding material, the efficacy of resealable packaging is enhanced. One option to consider is our M-Resin adhesive for resealable films. It provides process efficiency with higher green strength and enables the ability to run at faster packaging speeds, translating to lower cost-in-use and a more straightforward manufacturing process.


Comparably, flexible packaging offers the benefits of resealable packaging. It consumes fewer resources and energy to manufacture than other packaging options. By leveraging barrier materials, flexible packaging helps protect food from environmental elements, such as sunlight, temperature and moisture. It also plays a significant role in food safety by preventing early spoilage caused by bacterial contamination.


The performance of flexible packaging can be further improved by utilising flexible lamination adhesive such as our HERBERTS™ LF794/H180, which was specially developed to withstand food sterilisation and is suitable for up to four layers of aluminium lamination retort. HERBERTS™ LF794/H180 is a polyurethane solvent-free retort adhesive that improves performance while being environmentally friendly. It has excellent chemical resistance for packaging ingredients with higher acidic content, which is critical to ensure that the packaging remains sealed for an extended period to prevent food contamination.


To keep up with changing requirements, packaging manufacturers must rethink packaging design beyond reasonable costs and performance. Following the pandemic, they must rebalance sustainability goals and customers' needs to stay relevant. With the right focus and innovation capabilities, these megatrend shifts in consumers' preferences could help packaging manufacturers.


Contact a Bostik representative today to learn more about our smart adhesive solutions to support your packaging manufacturing journey. 


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