In this new scenario, we must not forget the changes that end consumers’ buying habits are experiencing, and these also have an impact on packaging. Online shopping is less impulsive, consumers know what they want and the marketing claims on supermarket shelves no longer serve any purpose. Consumers are also increasingly demanding and they have a voice on social media, allowing them to demand their rights and speak out against bad practices or purchases received late, in the wrong amount or in a poor condition.
Against the current backdrop, with exceptional social distancing measures, there are several types of online shopping that are becoming more popular, to which the industry will have to adapt:
- Home food deliveries. Delivery to the workplace or home is the option chosen by many catering and food establishments to keep their businesses going. The food is already prepared before it is delivered, in small portions, and it must also be possible to use the packaging as a vessel for eating: offering the option to heat it up in a microwave, being stiff enough to serve as a plate, accompanied by plastic cutlery and napkins, in addition to ensuring that the food is safe and well preserved.
- Online orders from supermarkets to avoid visiting stores. The increase in online shopping will require changes in the distribution sector. It will be necessary to adapt the volumes of packages in proportion to the secondary packaging of each distributor and to reduce air freight. In the future, food will be delivered directly from the logistics platform, where it will be stored in packaging with a standardised size and shape. Labelling and product information will become increasingly important for ensuring the proper management of purchases and the safety of end consumers.
- Producers who sell directly to the end consumer. Another trend in the current situation is direct sales from the producer to the end consumer. The temporary closure of bars and restaurants has forced many producers to deliver meat, fish, vegetables and other fresh products previously destined for catering establishments to end customers. These products require suitable packaging to ensure their preservation and make sure that they reach consumers in a good condition.
ULMA Packaging was already providing packaging machinery and solutions designed for the food industry that can be used for sales through e-commerce, ensuring the safety and preservation of the product and promoting sustainability. Additionally, we need to observe how these new trends evolve so that we can continue to offer solutions that are adapted to these modern times. E-commerce is presenting new challenges for the packing and packaging industry, which will have to be flexible and quick to meet the new market demands.