From sustainability to nostalgia, some of the biggest trends right now are changing the way we think about packaging. But which packaging trends are the most beneficial for suppliers to the public sector?
New research, technology, and developments can help suppliers to the public sector reduce their costs and waste output, while supplying a better and more effective product.
People are looking for options that make packaging and labelling more inclusive in a variety of ways, for example providing packaging that is secure but can be easily opened by those with disabilities, or more effective solutions for listing allergens including those that are friendly to those with hearing loss and screen readers.
For the public sector, many of these advances can be cost-effective — for example, including more detailed ingredient and allergy information via QR codes may be cheaper than printing custom labels for each product, especially if you have a large menu or offer customisation of your products.
While packaging like this has obvious benefits for hospitals, care homes, and other health environments, all areas of the public sector including schools can benefit from more accessible packaging.
Sustainability has been a driving force behind improvements to waste management for the past few decades, and we are now at the point where zero waste services are expected and rewarded with contracts. What’s more, the government’s single-use plastic ban is fast approaching in October 2023, which aims to cut down on waste for good. So, more companies than ever are searching for sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging.
Zero waste goals are ideal for the public sector due to reduced waste and fewer waste collections, which can lower costs. New regulations are in place from January 2023 for those who produce and use packaging, including taking reasonable steps towards waste reduction, and going zero-waste can ensure caterers stay well within these parameters.
Options for low and zero-waste packaging include packaging designs that use less materials overall, fibre-based alternatives to plastic, and wrappers made from compostable materials. Composting is a good step towards a zero-waste future, and the public sector — which includes hospitals and other closed environments — could lead the way.
When producing and sourcing sustainable packaging, it’s important to pay attention to certifications, particularly when it comes to compostable items. Certified compostable packaging can help remove any uncertainty around sustainable waste disposable methods, increasing confidence and diverting more waste from going to landfill. Packaging that is BRC certified food-safe can also ease any potential concerns about the safety of alternative packaging options.
Health and hygiene
In the wake of Covid-19, there has been an increased emphasis on hygienic packaging in the industry, including more wrapping of loose goods and a preference for more virus-repellent cardboard packaging that can help to prevent the spread of infections better than plastics can. Another bonus of these technologies is that improved hygiene means less food waste, reducing the amount of spoilt and contaminated food that would otherwise have to be thrown away, and stock may last longer too.
Protecting goods as well as consumers is mutually beneficial for the industry, and so it’s crucial to stay on top of the latest health and hygiene packaging trends and take the time to communicate these benefits to your customers.
There has been a huge shift in the way consumers think about packaging, but many of the latest packaging trends have significant benefits. These are just a few of the best areas for packaging suppliers to focus on for the benefit of the public sector.
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