Packaging in the post-COVID ‘new normal’ is going to involve balancing competing tensions; the newly acute emphasis on hygiene, sustainability in the time of climate emergency, and the critical need to deliver value in recessionary times.
Many consumers around the world are going to be facing very immediate pressures on lower-order Maslow needs (health and disposable income), so the issue of sustainability risks being deprioritised in practice, despite the strength of feeling behind it.
By assuming positions of societal and ethical leadership, manufacturers can ensure that consumers aren’t forced to make uncomfortable trade-offs between any of these factors. Product and packaging development will need to equally cater to the ‘new normal’ demand for strict hygiene, the immediate restrictions on household expenditure as well as the long-term societal recognition for sustainability if we are going to emerge from this crisis with humanity strengthened.
Sustainability remains relevant even at the height of COVID-19 as illustrated by people’s attitudes to health and the environment. In Clean, Green and Affordable we find those companies which can continue to drive better environmental outcomes in the face of reduced consumer confidence and increased sensitivity to hygiene have an opportunity to build themselves long-term reputational equity and better chances of success.
You can hear all three authors of the paper in conversation about the key themes running through it, in this half-hour episode from our ongoing series of “Ipsos Talks”: