There’s no doubt that the novel coronavirus has drastically changed the way we work, learn, interact, and shop. Over the past 2 years, we have had no choice but to adjust to our “new normal” in an effort to curb COVID-19 transmission while keeping the economy alive. That’s been no small feat, to be sure, and it’s now clear that there isn’t just one way to handle a pandemic. Although our society had already been looking to the digital world for solutions to everyday problems, COVID-19 put those efforts on the fast track (with some varying degrees of success).
Arguably, issues with the global supply chain have impacted virtually every aspect of our daily lives. Shipping delays and out-of-stock products were just two of the effects experienced. Material unavailability has certainly affected businesses of all kinds; not only were certain products themselves nearly impossible to create, but even the packaging and commercial labels often needed to be amended due to poor accessibility.
While many aspects of business operations have since been ironed out, it’s worth taking a look back at how COVID-19 has changed the packaging and labelling industry. With these insights in mind, businesses can better prepare for health crises and create actionable plans to resolve any lingering issues in 2021.
Prior to the pandemic, one of the main goals for many businesses involved more sustainable practices. Consumers are extremely interested in social and environmental issues, as data shows that customers are often willing to pay more for a product if they know the company has embraced eco-friendly practices. While these practices can include any number of methods like utilizing solar energy or curbing wasted water. Consumer demand for more eco-conscious options has prompted manufacturers to seek reusable alternatives.
Before most of us had ever heard of COVID-19, packaging companies were putting their ingenuity to good use to create reusable and biodegradable packaging options that consumers would love. However, once the first cases of coronavirus started to hit, manufacturers were forced to pivot over potential health and safety concerns. Although sustainable packaging may be better for the environment, it’s not necessarily better for preventing viral transmission. Concerns over reusable packaging (and even options like reusable shopping bags) prompted many businesses to temporarily pause their sustainability missions.
Most experts now believe that the risks associated with viral transmission via reusable shopping bags and product packaging are likely quite remote. Still, some customers are using an abundance of caution and may not be quite as interested in the advantages of reusable packaging until the pandemic is over. As we start to head into a post-COVID reality, businesses will once again have to pivot — this time, to balance hygienic concerns with environmental responsibility.
The need for commercial labels and packaging hasn’t abated during the pandemic. But how we develop and utilize them will always be subject to change.