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Quick shots:

  • 82% of employees who worked remotely during the pandemic wish to continue doing so. More people working from home means more consumption of CPG products and use of e-commerce.
  • Consumers are concerned about plastic waste and want businesses to take action on it.
  • Consumers also want GPCs to take a “value stance” on topics such as sustainability, social responsibility and transparency, and will buy from companies that align with their own values.
  • The packaging becomes the display space where these social or sustainability positions can be illustrated and linked. But it’s difficult for brands to regularly exchange packaging designs to keep up with the many causes that a brand can champion.
  • Digital printing offers brands the ability to print certain limited-time campaigns—Hershey BrazilOne-month Her / She campaign around International Women’s Day in March, then revert to larger prints of the traditional packaging format.

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Listen to the story here:

Read the transcript below:

Kim Overstreet: Hi, I’m Kim Overstreet, senior content strategist at PMMI Media Group. And today I’m going to discuss two important consumer trends affecting the CPG industry today.

The first trend is the result of the pandemic. According to a recent Association of Consumer Brands report, 82% of employees working from home during the pandemic wished to continue doing so, at least part of the time. More people working from home means more consumption of home products and more e-commerce.

The ABC expects sales of CPG products to remain strong through 2021 or more, with an annual rate of purchases expected to be 7% or 8% higher than in 2019.

The second trend according to the ABC is that consumers are demanding sustainable action from companies, especially when it comes to plastic waste, and this expectation could force improved recycling systems.

Suzanne Shelton from the Shelton group said Smithers Sustainability in packaging conference that 45% of consumers have a more positive opinion of brands that use little or no plastic in their packaging. She added that brands should clearly communicate about sustainability and talk about their plastics, packaging and recycling management plan.

At ISTA Forum, Mara Devitt, who is a senior partner at McMillan Doolittle, said consumers want and expect retailers to take a position of value. Devitt said a global research study found that more than 80% of consumers surveyed demand sustainability, social responsibility and transparency from brands and retailers, and 44% choose to buy products from companies that they believe fit their own perspective on sustainability or values.

To learn more about this topic, visit packworld.com.

Matt Reynolds: Hi, I’m Matt Reynolds, editor of Packaging World magazine. Welcome to Take Five. Today, I mainly think of digital printing for several reasons. A, Drupa is happening right now. It is a great international conference and exhibition. Normally this is a face-to-face event. This year it’s digital, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on the kind of technologies that come out of it that could affect the packaging space.

And also because we are finishing our May issue of Packaging World, which features a handful of stories of digital printing applications. And one of them really stood out to me, especially in the context of what Kim Overstreet had just explained in the previous segment about how brands are currently being asked by their consumers to stand up for something, to stand up for a cause, to take a stand on social justice, or whatever.

The one that really stood out that we wrote about is Hershey, and this is Hershey Brazil in particular, and they were taking advantage of the happy accident of their name, which sounds phonetically like “she-she”.

March 8 was International Women’s Day and Hershey Brazil took the opportunity, throughout March in fact, to roll out a wide variety of new pack designs that celebrate women in art, music, science and literature. So if you can tell by the photos hovering beside my head right now, there really is a huge variety of different packaging designs out there.

Now Kim has focused on why these brands are being asked to take a stand on social issues. I’m more interested in how, given the number and variety of different pack designs and the relatively short runs they were going to require by condensing it all into one month.

Well, digital printing was the answer in this case. So, since digital printing doesn’t require making a new mold every time you have a new packaging design, brands can take the opportunity to get started extremely quickly and nimbly in certain social justice campaigns or other ways to show they really care. And then go straight back to their iconic traditional Hershey packaging whenever they need it.

So they worked with a design agency BETC São Paulo, and the converter Camargo Cia by Embalagens– I apologize if I mess up the pronunciation. In this case, use flow wrap wrapping on an HP Indigo 20000. And it is reverse printed polyester laminated with white BOPP or biaxially oriented polypropylene.

So that’s the technical side of it, but it’s important to note that Hershey wasn’t just lip service for a cause, by day. The company is actually out of Hershey’s management, 52% are women, and that goes all the way to CEO, Michele Buck.

A final note on the intersection between these social justice causes and digital printing is that both will be on display at Las Vegas Expo Pack Later this year. There is going to be a parcel printing flag and also a networking breakfast and workshop for the PMMI Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network.

So this is just one example that these trends, they don’t just exist at the consumer GIC level. They affect everyone up the supply chain, including packaging manufacturers and packaging machine manufacturers.

That’s all the time we have today. Thank you for watching.

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