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Food and Drink

Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins is Managing Director of leading packaging innovation consultancy ThePackHub. Paul has had a long career in packaging and marketing. Paul founded ThePackHub in 2012 to help brand owners, retailers and suppliers with their packaging innovation. ThePackHub delivers technical packaging support, publishes packaging reports, hosts events as well as collates their leading packaging innovation database. The Innovation Zone has more than 4,200 initiatives from around the world and is updated at a rate of up to 20 a week. 

One business success

  • Despite the tremendous disruption that COVID-19 has had on our business, I have been delighted in how we have landed alternative business opportunities. The new way of working online and providing non-face-to-face services has opened new business activities that would not have been explored if the pandemic hadn’t happened. We hope we can continue these new services post-pandemic.

Two challenges for the sector

  • Managing the growth of ThePackHub to ensure that we expand fast enough to meet demand. New ways of shopping necessitate new methods of packaging and the “concept to production” lead time is under pressure as retailers try to keep up with changes in shopper behaviour.
  • Understanding what the best opportunities for the business are and then ensuring we devote the appropriate attention to make them happen. For all businesses in the sector, the pandemic has created opportunities as well as presented challenges.  It’s how we deal with those that will define our long-term success.

Three forecasts for the sector

  • Covid-19 is going to have an impact on everybody’s businesses even after it goes away - from retailers who now have to manage a rapid expansion in their online offering and try to make it profitable, to producers who are looking at how to pack their products for home delivery rather than ‘in-store’ supermarket purchase. 
  • Reusable and refillable solutions will be the next big packaging trend. For example, we have already seen the launch of a trial Tesco and Loop which delivers products in reusable containers to consumers and the reaction so far has been positive.  At the moment it covers 150 products but will expand soon to include in-store replenishment. Other retailers will be watching closely.
  • Carbon footprint reduction will be the new battleground rather than plastic reduction, as consumers begin to look up and down the food chain to assess the overall environmental impact of what they buy. Other elements to consider could include water use and transport costs, as shoppers once again focus on factors other than product availability and price.

October 2020