“Supply is Simply Not Possible Without Packaging”

Mara Hancker, Managing Director Communications, Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen on the biggest impact of the corona pandemic, resulting opportunities, the future of packaging and planning for the remaining year 2020 and 2021.

In which areas do you see the greatest impact of the Corona pandemic on your industry?

We currently see two very different effects: Food packaging and packaging for pharmaceuticals and medical products are currently, unsurprisingly, in greater demand. People are stockpiling and want to be sure that the products are hygienically packaged and have a sufficiently long shelf life. Hygiene products such as soaps and disinfectants also require packaging, especially plastic packaging. The situation is different for manufacturers who supply the automotive sector. Here, of course, reduced production is clearly noticeable.

Which opportunities could arise?

For us, a great opportunity lies in the perception of plastic packaging. Recently, plastic packaging has been perceived almost exclusively as waste. Hardly anyone wanted to hear about the ecological advantages over other materials, facts were frighteningly irrelevant to many discussions. At times, this was very frustrating for the industry.

Now, hopefully, we can open our eyes again to the actual function of packaging, which, especially when made of plastic, makes many vital applications possible in the first place and ensures a reliable and long-term supply of food. And now, people are once again appreciating this more. Hopefully, they will remember this when the crisis is over.

Does Corona mean the end for unpackaged goods shops?

It is not up to us to assess whether the niche for unpackaged goods shops will be able to survive here. But Corona at least shows the clear limits of the unpackaged solutions. And quite honestly: the logistics of unpacked shops also need packaging. Over 80 million German citizens simply cannot be supplied without packaging. And this is not necessary either. By using as much packaging as necessary and as little as possible, we contribute to the avoidance of food losses and thus to sustainable consumption.

How do you assess the trade fair planning for 2021?

2021 will be the next interpack year. Normally there is no Fachpack in such years. So, this is a double challenge for us as an association, but also for our member companies. The plastic packaging industry will certainly not lack topics and innovations.