2022 Outlook & Trends

Food packaging and logistics trends to look out for in 2022

While 2021 was another strange year, the global pandemic has meant that food, packaging and logistics businesses have had to continue to innovate. We haven’t quite figured out what the ‘new normal’ looks like, but there are some definite food packing and supply trends that are emerging in the industry and will feature in the year ahead.

1. Sustainability continues to be a focus
Sustainability has appeared on lists of supply chain trends before, and it’s likely to appear on them for years to come. With COP26 having taken place in Glasgow in 2021 to shed light on climate change issues, this is especially true in 2022.

The reality is undeniable: sustainability in the supply chain is under the microscope and green practices are the future. While we’re years away from seeing fleets of electric lorries, the plastic tax that comes into force in April is one of the government’s most serious Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) commitments.

2. Reducing packaging waste
Pressure continues to mount for a reduction in single-use plastics, with consumers actively looking for producers that reduce waste and produce food in a sustainable way. Manufacturers are taking this on board and there are already companies that are stepping up to meet consumer preferences.
Big brands such as Nestlé and KraftHeinz have committed to using only recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025. These companies recognise that sustainability credentials are of value to their customers, who are willing to pay a premium for products they believe support environmental sustainability.

Consumer demand for better packaging will have an impact through the whole supply chain as savvy shoppers won’t fall for on-shelf ‘green washing’. Manufacturers must also make sure that single-use plastic is limited as much as possible throughout manufacturing and transportation.

3. Boxing clever with intelligent packaging
Scientific advances and economic need will spur the development of intelligent packaging. Food waste is expensive and inconvenient for both retails and consumers, but ‘best before’ and ‘sell by’ dates still see perfectly safe to eat food landing in the bin. Intelligent packaging that uses reactive inks to display product viability could reduce food waste and costs for both retailers and consumers.

4. Click and collect to dominate
A long-term supply chain trend is the further shift to e-commerce and in-store collection. The speed at which retailers had to adapt to pandemic shopping restrictions made this expensive back in 2020, but many have now fully embraced this trend, with giants such as Tesco continuing to invest in their click and collect operations to meet the constant demand. Supporting the idea that online grocery shopping is more prevalent than ever, Retail Times reports that Aldi’s weak online proposition is to blame for a disappointing Christmas.

There’s no doubt that consumers’ habits have changed in the last couple of years. Because of this, retail outlets could put pressure on producers to package and deliver foods in ways that better suit click and collect shopping.

5. Last mile as a service
Everyone wants faster, more accurate deliveries at lower and lower prices. Third-party logistics (3PL) has been a solution for a number of years, and we expect that in 2022, some providers will pivot their focus by providing last mile as a service (LMaaS).

LMaaS is not yet well-established, but different models are appearing in the market. On-demand crowdsourcing is seen as one potential revolutioniser for logistics, using a model like Uber or Airbnb for final mile delivery. This has huge potential for dense urban areas but may not be suitable to service more rural locations.

If supermarkets came into the last mile space to offer white label delivery, this could theoretically enable smaller companies to access the logistics capabilities of major brands. This is definitely a trend to watch for in the coming years.

If you’re looking to improve your sustainability credentials and packaging operations this year, contact Lindum Packaging on 01469 574480 or email us at orders@lindumpackaging.com

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