Austin, Texas — Packaging, like plastics, is getting into a “new regular” wherever sustainability and digital commerce criteria will participate in an ever more outsized position.

“I might like to make the case that we are entering definitely a new pattern and a new typical,” David Feber, a companion at consulting organization McKinsey & Co.’s Detroit business, reported at the the latest Packaging Meeting in Austin.

“If I could oversimplify and reduce up the very last 22 yrs or so into a few diverse sections, I feel the initial 10 years of this century, it was actually about substrate wars. PET and plastic was increasing it was using share from glass and aluminum in some situations, as was versatile packaging, stand-up pouches. There was a great deal of expansion,” Feber said.

“The upcoming 10 decades we started to see sustainability come into much more target. The massive driver in sustainability was lightweighting and downgauging, which was seriously a charge-reduction enjoy, but also employing less, which is superior,” he defined.

“We started off to see recycled content material in fact start out to be buying and selling at a high quality to virgin and put into resources. And we started out to see the initial sorts of e-commerce and electronic in the grocery group,” said Feber, who prospects McKinsey’s packaging team.

And then COVID-19 struck.

“All through the pandemic, we definitely hit two large shifts that hit a tipping issue. One particular was sustainability sensitivity. At the incredibly early section of the pandemic, points variety of went backward exactly where there was a huge boost in solitary-use packaging,” Feber mentioned.

“And then there was a counterreaction and the globe stood up and mentioned sufficient is adequate. And we’ve observed regulation and shopper commitments truly at an all-time substantial. It seriously is a new chapter. It truly is not like it has been for the previous 10 or 15 several years,” he mentioned.