The UK packaging industry has seen its services in huge demand over the past year due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on ecommerce.
This was the finding of the British Contract Manufacturers and Packers Association (BCMPA), which reported a large increase in outsourcing services as home delivery firms became busier than ever, Packaging News reports.
As well as the huge growth in ecommerce caused by lockdowns, another trend seen in 2020 was a growing emphasis on white label and private label manufacturing as many brands responded to changing market conditions, BCMPA chief executive Rodney Steel observed.
He remarked: “Despite all the challenges of 2020, from Covid-19 to Brexit, contract manufacturers, packers, fulfilment and logistic companies were busier than ever.”
This led to a situation where many brands and manufacturers were “so stretched that outsourcing quickly became the only answer”, he added.
Mr Steel concluded that the steep challenges of firms needing packaging solutions in 2020 had only been met due to the “expertise, experience and flexibility” of BCMPA members.
The solutions referred to by the BCMPA leader epitomise the kind of flexible, detailed and well-planned approach the best packaging firms will use to make sure what they deliver to clients fits their needs precisely.
At Tams Packaging, this epitomises our approach to the needs of our customers. As a custom carboard packaging manufacturer, a key question when it comes to the design and appearance of packaging is whether it will be displayed in retail or for posting.
The latter clearly needs more robust protection for the items within a package to enable it to pass intact through the postal system, a matter of less concern when bought in a shop and carried home by the buyer.
Because the last year has seen the packaging needs of firms swing so dramatically away from the high street with its more minimal packaging through to the ecommerce system, this need for the right kind of packaging has been clear and obvious, yet best delivered by those able to draw on a wealth of experience in the sector.
Of course, some challenges remain. Whereas most retailers either struggled or went online, supermarkets enjoyed a bumper 2020 as they became the outlets of choice for people to shop in person for consumer goods.
Our aim is to produce environmentally-friendly cardboard packaging, but a report produced last week by Greenpeace and the Environmental Investigation Agency found many supermarkets are still using very large amounts of plastic in their packaging.
It praised the major reductions achieved by M&S (67 per cent) and Waitrose (60 per cent), which along with Aldi had the best scores for overall plastic use (also covering matters like recycling and supply chains). But others performed fell short.
Retailers who underperformed include Iceland and Morrison’s. The former ranked worst for recycling and supply chain plastic use, while the latter had managed a plastic packaging reduction of just nine per cent.
What this shows is that, while packaging manufacturers have been very agile in responding to client needs in the pandemic, some of the retailers that have fared best commercially still need better solutions to make their packaging environmentally friendly.