COVID-19 Impact on Compostable Packaging in Materials and Packaging Industry
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the overall packaging industry, including the compostable packaging market. The compostable packaging market is subjected to a positive and negative impact due to the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst the lockdown, the market has witnessed high volume growth and better earnings due to a rise in consumption of packaged food and increasing consumer preference towards the use of compostable packaging instead of plastic packaging. According to the survey conducted by compostable flexible packaging company TIPA, it has been revealed that the surge of COVID-19 has changed the consumer perception towards the use of plastic packaging. According to their survey, despite the pandemic, around 85% of consumers believe that compostable packaging should replace general food packaging, while around 58% are willing to pay more for the packaging.
Additionally, 67% of consumers have expressed concerns about increased plastic waste during the UK lockdown. This is expected to surge the demand for compostable packaging during and post-pandemic. However, the packaging industry experienced disruption in the supply chain due to the shut down of boundaries and strict lockdowns imposed by the government to control the spread of the virus.
AFTERMATH OF COVID-19 AND GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES TO BOOST THE GLOBAL Compostable Packaging market
The pandemic of COVID-19 created a demand for flexible packaging due to growing awareness about hygiene and safety. The packaging industry has low exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, some of the small players and players operating in other sectors such as cosmetics, agriculture were left more vulnerable than others. Post COVID-19 has stabilized the demand for packaging for food, beverages, and pharmaceutical industries. Moreover, the unlocking of the situation and opening boundaries by various nations have regulated the supply of raw materials. Various governments are taking initiatives to regulate the supply of packaging for food, beverages, and pharmaceutical products. Additionally, various governments are liberalizing the regulation in the packaging industry to smoothen and regulate the raw material supply for the industry. Therefore, in the post-covid period, the demand for compostable packaging will increase moderately due to its benefits, such as being lightweight, portable, easy to carry, coupled with consumer behavior continuing to follow safety regulations.
STRATEGIC DECISIONS FOR MANUFACTURERS AFTER COVID-19 TO GAIN COMPETITIVE MARKET SHARE
Compostable packaging is gaining popularity across various industrial sectors all over the globe. Since the lockdown of COVID-19, the packaging manufacturers are required to follow a series of mandates and procedures to battle the crisis and keep a healthy workspace environment. To combat the current situation and gain a competitive market share, the manufacturers are offering attractive packages. Various marketing strategies are being adopted by the market's key manufacturers, such as product innovation and new product development to sustain the competitive market and meet the changing consumer trends. Adopting such strategic marketing policies by various competitors will help them gain competitive market share after the COVID-19 pandemic.
· In December 2020, KM Packaging launched a new range of compostable packaging products. The C-Range of bio-plastic packaging material includes shrink wrap, stretch wrap, adhesive tape, nets, and bags. This product launch will help the company to enhance its sustainable, flexible packaging product portfolio and help offer customers wide range of packaging choice
· In June 2021, the Indian Government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed plant-based packaging as an alternative to single-use plastics. The development will help the Indian Government to achieve the goal of completely ending single use plastic by next year
IMPACT ON PRICE
The COVID-19 has impacted the global economy growth terribly. Many organizations remained shut while others scaled down their operations or put their expansion plans on hold as they survived the unpredictable crisis. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in nationwide lockdowns, and various stringent regulations on border closing were imposed by the governments of nations across the globe, which resulted in the spike in the prices of compostable packaging. Import and export of raw materials were hampered due to the closing of the border of various nations. This resulted in an increase in the prices in countries that were dependent on the imports of packaging. At the same time, the price in the major packaging exporter countries had fallen owing to the larger production than the demand. However, the ease of lockdown and various initiatives by the Government to export and import packaging resulted in the subsequent price drop owing to its availability. The price impact on the compostable packaging market was relatively dependent on specific commodities.
IMPACT ON DEMAND
The COVID-19 has resulted in a surge of flexible packaging as they are considered more hygienic due to limited handling. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for compostable packaging increased due to rising awareness amongst consumers to choose compostable packaging over plastic packaging. Growing awareness about the benefits of increased hygiene has surged compostable packaging in various industry sectors such as food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and others. The pandemic outbreak has also resulted in compostable packaging among various regions due to rising environmental concerns caused by plastic packaging. Furthermore, the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical packaging business are demonstrating resilience in the current situation, while the companies involved in manufacturing packaging for sectors such as hospitality, cosmetics, and travel are witnessing a stagnant demand.
IMPACT ON SUPPLY CHAIN
The COVID-19 pandemic has highly disrupted the supply chain of raw materials used to manufacture compostable packaging. It was attributed to the lack of resources and transportation, which led to lower access, delayed stock, and supplies of raw materials products. Additionally, many governments restricted the movement of goods across the countries, and the entire supply chain was distorted. Due to the disrupted supply chain, transportation of raw materials has been interrupted, stalling production. Similarly, inflated prices and halt on production of compostable packaging have resulted in the unmet demand for compostable packaging in various end-users such as food, beverages, pharmaceutical, automotive, and other industries. Further, as there was a tremendous increase in demand for compostable packaging by pharmaceutical, food, and beverage sectors due to rising demand for convenience food and portable and handy hygiene products, the distribution had been significantly disrupted.
COVID- 19 pandemic has taken a toll on the population and economy. A collaborative effort on governments, public health departments, and hospital fraternity to fight the coronavirus has led to economic slowdowns, lockdowns, and extreme public safety measures. Due to the increasing health consciousness among the consumers, the demand for compostable packaging has constantly increased in the COVID–19 pandemic periods. It is likely to increase to avoid plastic packaging. This is mainly because of preventive measures the consumers follow for the COVID-19, which involves the intake of a healthy diet and consumer trend towards sustainable packaging. However, the supply chain has disrupted during the outbreak scenario because the demand was more for these products. Unlocking of lockdown and opening of boundaries across the world is expected to normalize the supply chain for the market, further attributing to the growth of the global compostable packaging market.