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Looking back at 2022, what a difference a year makes

Our mission as a company has always been to work together with our clients, partners, and network to provide well-functioning, cost-efficient and high-quality handles for customers in the packaging supply chain. So, taking an agile approach, we pride ourselves on being able to move swiftly to address our customers challenges and flexible enough to address different customer needs as we open in new territories around the globe. We set ourselves annually a few questions internally to reflect on the previous 12 months and how that can help us develop as a company in the years ahead. Andreas Carlson, Director of Global Sales at Persson collated those thoughts and has put them together in this article.

Our mission as a company has always been to work together with our clients, partners, and network to provide well-functioning, cost-efficient and high-quality handles for customers in the packaging supply chain. So, taking an agile approach, we pride ourselves on being able to move swiftly to address our customers challenges and flexible enough to address different customer needs as we open in new territories around the globe. We set ourselves annually a few questions internally to reflect on the previous 12 months and how that can help us develop as a company in the years ahead.

Andreas Carlson, Director of Global Sales at Persson collated those thoughts and has put them together in this article.

 

What did Persson learn from the packaging industry throughout 2022?

Looking back at 2022 it has been a year of responding to the changes in how our clients’ businesses and end-consumer demand has evolved post-covid.

Our goal has been to address the impact that those changes in buying habits have had and ensure that we as a business are focused on generating the demand necessary to propel business growth and deliver on our sustainability commitments.

With so many events happening in the world that have had significant global consequences in 2022, we wanted to work in a way to address the changes in our industry, our customers and their needs and the packaging supply chain in general.

At Persson we are proud of our 40+ years of packaging experience and innovation that we can tap into to enhance our range of packaging handles. A company mission that sets out to meet the needs of a diverse, global customer base, across many different types of businesses.

In 2022 as tradeshows re-opened, we got the chance to speak to more and more of our customers and network. Conversations that reinforced our view that innovation, sustainability, quality, and customer focus are the core elements that will support Persson for another 40 years of growth.

Read more about Seeing is believing – product innovation.

What trends did you see happening in 2022 that had an impact on the packaging and handles market globally?

An era where consumers are reshaping their packaging needs

Today, post-covid, the momentum continues to see a shift in consumer behavior to buy online and shop for larger, more economical items. At the same time there has been an increase in the regulation of packaging waste with heightened consumer concerns over climate issues and sustainability.

The impact of the shift in consumer buying habits has resulted in an increase in the volume of e-commerce transactions and the size of products bought. These changes present companies today with a new set of packaging challenges to address with regards the environment, sustainability and to provide a better customer experience.

Plus, e-commerce as opposed to “bricks-and-mortar” physical stores have many more “touch points” as the items are handled more along the distribution journey, which necessitates some re-thinking to their overall packaging strategy.

The increase in online shopping has resulted in adaptations in packaging sizes, led to end-users forming stronger views on packaging and waste, and a bigger focus on material performance and durability to reduce the number of product returns.

So, packaging continued in 2022 to be a possible point of contention with consumers as they weighed up their choices based on how their consumption habits were impacting the environment. And how vested the brands that they selected were in trying to reduce their environmental footprint.

If today’s CEOs are to navigate these market disruptions, the industry must look closely at the packaging supply chain to align with consumers changing attitudes towards sustainability.

 

Read more about how sustainable packaging can improve the product experience.

 

Driving packaging innovation through sustainability

Retailers are now also beginning to digest and respond to consumer feedback with regards the amount of secondary packaging and pressure to swap plastic with paper materials.

The movement against plastic straws was a good example of an increased consumer awareness of the potential dangers of single-use plastics. Policy makers reacted with a variety of responses, such as the European Union’s single-use directive.

CPG (consumer packaged goods) brand owners have also responded to an increase in public scrutiny and regulatory pressure by making commitments to increase packaging recyclability and leveraging this as a point of differentiation to their end consumers.

Packaging can certainly enhance a product’s look and feel and at the same time reduce the environmental impact if the materials are recyclable and taken from sustainable sources.

Innovating around sustainability offers companies a path to highlight their environmentally friendly credentials and can help shape brand perceptions. An added bonus is of course a reduction in the amount of material in packaging which lowers costs and has a positive impact throughout the supply chain.

Consumer attitudes towards sustainability and how this can potentially influence their shopping behavior and habits continued to grow in 2022.

Consumers have added to the pressure on CPG companies to increase their use of recycled materials for packaging. CPGs must when working with their converters, balance packaging practicalities with ensuring their products secure “shelf appeal” and a positive customer experience.

Leveraging product benefits such as sustainable packaging that an end- customer values can also reduce a shoppers’ sensitivity to price and increase loyalty, as they weigh up the environmental impact of their buying behavior.

 

Recent research from the HBR NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business on products marketed as sustainable, finds in more than 90% of consumer packaged goods categories, sustainability-marketed products grew faster than their conventional counterparts.

 

Paving the way for packaging innovation 

With today’s 24/7 online media presence there has been increasing visibility of the environmental impact of packaging waste fueling a growing movement of “consumer pressure” demanding sustainable options for packaging.

 

Consumers have remained concerned about sustainability. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, most consumers (65-91%) say they are “extremely concerned” or “very concerned” about the impact of product packaging on the environment.

 

Marine litter is top of mind in Europe and Japan, while pollution is more of a concern in other Asian countries and the Americas.

 

Converters also felt the pressure in 2022 as they have had to rethink materials and design requirements, especially as end consumers are willing to pay more for a product that is packaged with recyclable materials.

From a raw materials standpoint paper is a viable and sustainable alternative to plastic that can help reduce the amount of plastic packaging waste.

 

What has been the Persson business focus in 2022?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution that converters can embrace as they work on strategies for sustainable packaging with their CPG and retailer customers.

 

Persson can support converters to stand out in a crowded marketplace by tapping into our focus on innovation and the benefits of having 40+ years of research and development experience.

 

We continued in 2022 to deliver on our goal to develop the Persson proposition to offer high-quality sustainable paper handles and to be the no.1 choice for converters and CPGs globally. We will continue to offer paper handles as a serious alternative packaging material to plastic.

 

Read more about how e-commerce companies can differentiate customer experience through packaging.

 

Looking into 2023, strategically how will Persson try to grow its business?

As a global company with strong, local Swedish roots we are lucky to have a dedicated team of professionals to take on everything from paper handle designs and production to ensuring we keep on top of our sustainability commitments.

We are well positioned to meet our customers growing needs all over the world as new markets and opportunities open up.

To make sure we deliver the best possible experience for our customers, we continued in 2022 to add local representation across key geographic markets covering Europe, North America, South America, and South Korea. With local knowledge of language, legislation and in the same time zones – it makes doing business easier.

In 2023 the packaging industry needs to embrace sustainability as consumer attitudes change and address the new regulatory requirements as they are introduced, all which Persson has the expertise and experience to help with.

Re-think packaging. Think Persson!

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