How will Covid-19 impact the packaging business?

As the coronavirus continues to spread from continent to continent, what does it mean for the packaging sector?

16 Mar 2020 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

While no one can authoritatively predict the full impact of the pandemic or how long the situation will continue and how it will impact the world economy, one thing is certain, it will impact the packaging sector in a significant way.

The immediate challenge is the supply chain management, something that both brand owners and converters must brace themselves with.

The math is easy. For the duration of the ongoing pandemic, a large number of the workforce will be away from their places of work as a result of sickness, quarantine, and state-imposed self-isolation policies. Meanwhile, everyone still needs to eat, drink and wash. The packaged goods value chain will play a critical social role over the coming weeks and months simply by finding ways of maintaining productivity.

The impact is already visible in the case certain products, namely, hand sanitisers. According to a news report published in The Times of India on 5 March 2020, the hand sanitiser market has already seen a 10-fold jump in demand. The report added that the companies have increased the production amid reports of non-availability of hand sanitisers in the market, as people have started buying them after cases of coronavirus appeared in Delhi.

In the longer term, it’s likely that there will be wider implications for packaging. For one thing, there will be an increased demand for packaged goods, especially in the food and beverages category. Especially, single-use aseptic packaging should see significant rise.

Additionally, as people look to minimise social contact, it will also accelerate the growth of eCommerce.

And as businesses struggle with labour shortages, we may see an upsurge in investment in automation. However, for this, the impact of the pandemic has to be severe.

Business interrupted

Meanwhile, owing to health concerns and government imposition on social distancing and ban on public gathering, quite a number of events have been either cancelled or postponed. This will also impact the printing/ packaging business in a significant way.

The silver jubilee celebrations of the Karnataka Offset Printers Association (KOPA), which was to be held on 14 March, was cancelled after the Karnataka government ordered a one-week ban on public events.

PackPlus South and PrintFair, which was to take place on 20-22 March in Hyderabad has been postponed. The event will now take place on 18-20 December.

Meanwhile, the annual ‘Romancing Print’ event, organised by the All-India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP), scheduled to be held at Patiala on 22 March has been postponed. The new date will be announced soon.

Tags : Coronavirus;