The demand for global retail grocery packaging is growing this year amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), creating opportunities to advance sustainability in packaging across the whole supply chain.
“…Covid-19 factors of stockpiling and home seclusion for population health and safety place an even greater reliance on the purchase of retail packaged groceries that are suitable for at-home consumption,” said Rosemarie Downey, packaging industry manager at Euromonitor International.
In the Euromonitor Digest, Downey said packaging provides a touch-free grocery solution security to consumers specific to the pandemic.
The protective packaging material helps to minimize the number of human touch points on food and beverages purchased and expedite the in-store shopping experience, she said.
“The surge in online shopping in 2020 is also intrinsically linked to the touch-free/contact-free purchase priority, as consumers have adapted their everyday shopping behavior, on safety grounds,” she added.
Downey cited the Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry survey fielded in July 2020 with 4,812 respondents revealing that 64 percent of respondents believe there will be a permanent shift to online as a direct consequence of Covid-19.
She said some out-of-home losses have been recouped in retail grocery sales, as consumers opt to shop bigger in terms of transaction spend and pack size, but less frequently for home consumption.
“Value for money pack offerings may well become more important and support the bigger buy, amid financial fall-out from the health crisis,” she added.
Downey also highlighted the continuing Covid-19 clean need.
“In-demand cleaning products and sanitizers/soaps for personal use will create additional and ongoing demand for packaging and dispensing closures, in the medium term, both for personal at-home use and for on-the-go use, extending to commercial premises that are working to ensure clean, Covid-secure, safe environments for employees and consumers alike,” she said.
As the mounting activities to support sustainable packaging progress amid the pandemic, Downey underscored the importance to advance on sustainability across the whole supply chain from sustainable ingredients sourcing, renewable energy and water use through to packaging.
“Also that investment and collaboration are required to improve, for packaging, its recovery, recyclability, and re-use, as part of a wider global action to mitigate carbon impact,” she said.
Downey said there are also new challenges in the pandemic beyond packaging to consider, such as the surge in use of personal protection equipment (PPE) that requires addressing so that these do not end up amassing as waste, polluting the environment.