One of the recurring themes we realized while studying the evolution of packaging is the constant need for innovation to coincide with shifting consumer needs.

Not too long ago we dove into the history of packaging and saw how the industry has evolved into the global market that it is today. As we head into 2021, consumer behaviors have once again influenced the packaging world and the industry is expected to see some changes in the coming future. Fueled by a global pandemic that has impacted almost all aspects of a consumer’s life, manufacturers and companies have had to adapt to new trends and create new opportunities for a safe buying and packaging experience.

It is important to note that although the pandemic is driving these trends forward, the packaging industry can learn a lesson that will go well beyond COVID-19: evolving to fit consumer needs.

An article from Packaging Digest recently described some of the industry’s emerging trends that have developed due to the pandemic and will have a significant influence in the packaging sphere heading into 2021. These trends include the rise of e-commerce, an increase in pre-packaged foods, rapid evolution of restaurants turning to takeout and delivery, and the popularity of private label brands.

Last spring when the pandemic shut down businesses and social distancing guidelines were put into place, consumer behavior shifted from buying in-person to turning to the internet. According to the article, e-commerce made up over 11% of the entire North American retail market for this year. This rise of e-commerce has emphasized the need for packaging products to be durable and easy to open. Manufacturers that keep these aspects in mind for the coming year will be more successful in the e-commerce space.

There’s no denying takeout and delivery for food has been on the rise for the past decade – thanks to food delivery services such as Uber Eats, Grubhub and Doordash – however, the pandemic saw a spike in the number of restaurants providing takeout options and delivery services. This increase has provided manufacturers with the opportunity to provide packaging solutions to new restaurant businesses. Looking towards the future, manufacturers will find themselves at an advantage if they provide packaging that is recyclable, easy to open and tamper-proof.

Possibly the most interesting trend that has emerged this year due to the pandemic that will hold the most weight in the future of packaging is the rise in popularity of private label brands. At the beginning of the pandemic, the world saw consumers begin panic buying goods left and right, leaving shelves empty of popular national brands. This caused a shortage of national brand products, leaving consumers with store brand goods. An article from Packaging Strategies dove into this trend and reported that private brands saw an increase of 14% in dollar volume for 2020, with 70% of shoppers switching to new brands during the pandemic.

Again, these trends are predicted to last well beyond the pandemic as the packaging industry is forced to evolve with consumers. Our EEASY Lid will prove to be a long-term valuable item in the packaging world as our lid coincides with many of these consumer behaviors. With its ease of accessibility and inclusivity, the EEASY Lid will give manufacturers an advantage as they race to keep up with shoppers’ needs and wants.