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COVID-19 Pandemic: Impact on Food and Beverage Packaging Requirements

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many drastic changes to consumer behavior. Buyers pay attention to product packaging now more than ever, with concerns for hygiene, disposability, and sustainability.

Before, consumers preferred brands with reusable food packaging as it helps them decrease their carbon footprint. But this trend overturned because of COVID-19. The pandemic drives demand for single-use packaging that’s easy to dispose. Buyers are scared that the packaging might harbor the coronavirus and possibly infect them.

The pandemic has a significant impact on product packaging, especially when it comes to food and beverage packages. Apart from the typical design considerations — cost, durability, and convenience — companies must meet the following packaging requirements:

  • Hygienic Material and Design

The National Institutes of Health confirmed that the coronavirus could stay on surfaces for days, although the duration of its survival depends on the material. The study found that the virus remains longer on non-porous, solid surfaces, such as steel and plastic.

On the other hand, porous materials make it difficult for the virus to survive. Paper and fabrics are therefore ideal for food and beverage packaging.

Design is also a critical factor in hygienic packaging. Consumers prefer easy-open packaging designs that won’t require them to touch the item more than necessary, which reduces the risk of virus transmission.

Single-flap carton boxes are an example of easy-open packaging made of porous material.

  • Agile Production

Production agility is crucial for the food and beverage industry, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Food shortages are imminent amid an economic recession, and the food manufacturing sector is a critical player in abating food insecurity.

Food manufacturing firms are expected to design new packaging solutions quickly without causing production downtime. Some companies have invested in liquid piston fillers, case folding and gluing machines, and other high-speed packaging machinery to boost their production. Others utilize digital printing technologies to generate new product packaging designs faster.

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  • Ship-Ready Design

Because of lockdown measures and stay-at-home orders, consumers have turned to online shopping for their necessities. The pandemic caused explosive growth in e-commerce sales, moving tremendous amounts of goods through virtual platforms.

This coronavirus-led e-commerce boom calls for ship-ready packaging solutions, especially for fragile or perishable food and beverage products. Packaging designs should prevent product damage and tampering, and withstand the conditions of long-haul shipments.

  • Sustainability

Even though consumers now prefer single-use packaging, they still favor brands with tangible, sincere sustainability initiatives.  With the prediction that face masks can cause a massive waste problem, consumers want to choose brands that will help them reduce their ecological footprint.

Businesses can balance the demand for sustainability and disposability by using biodegradable and compostable materials for their packaging. These break down after a short period and don’t clog landfills.

Manufacturing firms will have to quickly create packaging solutions fit for the new normal — hygienic, shipping-ready and sustainable — to continue to meet market demand, ensuring long-term business success.

High-Performance Equipment from Volumetric Technologies

At Volumetric Technologies, we understand the importance of high-performing equipment in your production. We specialize in filling and packaging equipment, specifically for the food manufacturing industry. Apart from improving operational performance, our machines help you adapt to changing market demands in the new normal.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about our products.