3 Pandemic-Driven Trends That Are Changing the Packaging Industry

By Glenn Jones

The annual FPA Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Competition highlight the packaging industry's most innovative advances. There are several pandemic-influenced trends driving many of this year’s award winners, including Nosco’s Reset360 Large Format Protein Pouch, which earned a 2021 Silver Award in printing. You can find several pandemic-influenced trends—eco-friendliness, customer experience, and cleanliness—in every aspect of Nosco's various pouch creations and designs.

Going Beyond Sustainability to Recyclability

While sustainability has been a major driver of packaging trends and innovation for many years, the consumer focus on packaging sustainability has accelerated during the pandemic. Flexible packaging is known for its strong sustainability performance. Nosco’s use of digital print when creating the Reset360 Large Format Protein Pouch aided in its high sustainability and minimized waste. Digital print uses little material on startup and produces no volatile organic compounds, which results in a lower impact on the environment. Due to heightened awareness and a push for post-consumer recyclable and compostable products, companies are also exploring ways to improve flexible packaging recyclability. One of these ways is by incorporating recyclable, high-barrier films into packaging. These films replace foil-based products to keep moisture out, which keeps food fresh for longer and helps combat food waste.

Customer Experience is Everything

The impact of the pandemic created a heightened demand for products and innovations that appealed and aligned with consumers on a very personal level. Nosco incorporates customer experience in every aspect of creating their pouches. Their process of digital printing, pouch fabricating, and thermal lamenting allows for short lead times – with the ability to turn pouches in just four weeks. This results in the same efficiency as rigid containers and efficient timing for customers. The bright, eye-catching gold metallic design boasted by the Reset360 Large Format Protein Pouch gives it a tremendous shelf presence and appeal for customers. Customer experience efforts have also expanded into finding the right balance between being child-resistant and senior-friendly closure technologies for items like vitamins, OTC medications, and CBD products. Closures, often in the form of zippers, have become an extension of flexible packaging with their polyethylene-based technologies growing to include tactical and audible zipper snaps. Incorporating the tactical feel of films to include soft touch and matte finishes, and dieline configurations to expand past rounded corners into more uniquely shaped pouches, means there is a lot on the horizon for customer experience.

Pandemic-Inspired Surface Cleanliness

Cleanliness has become a forefront trend due to the COVID-19 pandemic and initial concerns of transmission. According to the April Consumer Intelligence Snap Poll from FPA agency partner G&S Business Communications, 66% of Americans voiced a level of concern about contracting the virus through food packaging. The same study revealed 44% of Americans had cleaned their food packaging with disinfectant. This is encouraging FPA member companies such as Nosco to explore different films with antimicrobial components.

These three pandemic-inspired trends highlight the direction in which the packaging industry is moving. Nosco’s silver award in printing from the FPA Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards reaffirms those trends.

About the Author

Glenn Jones is the General Manager of FlexPack and the Carrolton, Texas Plant at Nosco. He leads his team to provide customers the right fit of products and custom 1:1 solutions.

Subscribe to PFFC's EClips Newsletter