The pandemic has transformed every industry, and the packaging industry is no exception to it. The impact has been widespread, which has accelerated some ongoing trends in the industry while it has also brought in some new changes which are to stay for the foreseeable future. Most of these trends have emerged due to the increasing importance of hygiene, safety, ease of access amidst the lockdown, and sustainability. Here are the five major trends observed in the packaging industry:
1. A rise in consumer packaging:
The demand for consumer packaging has increased by manifolds. Before this pandemic, the sector was driven by the food sector due to the rise of food delivery services in India. The grocery sector was still very traditional as people were buying from nearby stores. The pandemic has led to soaring demand for grocery packaging, as people have now shifted to online platforms for purchasing these products. Panic buying led to stocking up, and that also drove the demand. In the initial phases of lockdown, the food packaging industry was hit very badly, however now it seems to be on a rise again.
2. Fall in industrial packaging:
Operations in the industrial sector have been disrupted due to lockdowns and social distancing norms. They have not been functioning at full capacity. As a result, there is a decline in demand for industrial products thereby leading to a decline in packaging requirements. The demand had just begun to rise but the second wave has again brought in some dips. However, the situation is estimated to get better over the year.
3. Increase in demand for medical products:
Demand for hygiene products such as tissue papers has shot up over the year. Demand for health care or medical products has also been on the rise. However, the packaging has a heavy reliance on plastic and foils of different grades. There were attempts to improve sustainability, but currently, the advancements on that front have not been prioritized and have taken a back seat.
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4. Cost fluctuations:
The costs related to the packaging industry have also been varying a lot. The raw material prices have soared high, while the fluctuations in petroleum prices and rupee to dollar rates have added to the trouble. The situation is critical, as the packaging industry is faced with a customer segment whose profits have been hit very badly and disposable income has gone down due to the pandemic. Thus the packaging industry needs to look after the costs and keep them as minimal as possible.
5. Disrupted production and distribution:
Disrupted production and distribution are common issues faced across industries. Social distancing norms have led to a shortfall of human resources, both within the production unit as well as in the distribution chain. The temporary lockdown in different locations to control the spread has further disrupted the supply chain. All this comes at a time when the demand has shot up. Thus it has been a challenging task in front of the industry. The need of the hour is efficiency. The resources must be utilized judiciously to meet the rising demand. It is where HABER is helping our customers to maintain efficiencies. A data-driven approach to production helps to keep a close watch and make accurate decisions.
Thus, we can see the industry is facing increased demands, pressure from rising prices of raw materials, and issues in the distribution network. Some of these trends may fade away, while some may continue to drive the industry. But the pandemic has certainly highlighted some of the challenges that are to be handled with care to ensure a resilient industry.
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