As the European Union learns to navigate the coronavirus pandemic and nations work to stave off infection, single-use plastics (SUP) have seen a notable boost in the horeca sector.
Food containers made from expanded polystyrene especially have risen in popularity, with manufacturers reporting double-digit percentage sale increases in orders placed for these products, between February and May 2020.
Despite working at full capacity, due to demands from their clients, some exaggerated – such as preservation of the same delivery time – manufacturers had to take measures to ensure a professional flow in activity, taking also into account normal changes such as those in delivery time.
Why this surge in orders for catering-type food containers occurred
There is a direct connection between the way people and industries have faced the pandemic and this increase in the uses for polystyrene products.
At the beginning of lockdowns in various countries in the EU, food stockpiling for households meant more single-use plastics flying off the shelves at grocery stores.
On the other hand, during lockdowns, restaurants that might have served meals on washable ceramic dishes were relegated to take-out only, which meant putting that same food into plastic to-go containers for each customer.
Online orders also saw an increase of 52% in March and April 2020 as compared to 2019, according to Bloomberg, which also added to the large volume of to-go plastic food packaging in use.
Manufacturers adapted their production capacity to a maximum level
The boost in SUP food container sales during the pandemic was a surprise to some executives at plastics companies, especially seen as the surge occurred over a short time frame to the point of actually surpassing production capacity.
This all took place in an already changing landscape across the EU, after the issuing of the 904 Directive in 2019, when food packaging manufacturers were driven to find ways to incorporate more reusable and recycled materials into their products.
At BFG, we are working at full capacity to process orders, however we cannot guarantee the same delivery time as before the coronavirus pandemic surge. Therefore, we have decided to accept orders solely from existing clients, postponing collaborations with potential new clients – for expanded polystyrene food container orders alone. We are more than happy to assist you in finding alternative solutions suitable for your needs, such as our natural fiber product range.
Changing times call for change in product portfolio
The coronavirus pandemic influenced consumer sentiment and habits, triggering a higher preference for online orders and home delivery of these orders.
This will continue to see changes in the upcoming period and food packaging manufacturing companies will need to take appropriate steps to identify packaging categories that are likely to return to strong levels of demand, in connection to the EU 904 Directive, still in place.
As previously communicated via our newsletters, the EU Directive initiated in 2019 – which comes into effect by July 2021 – bans single-use plastic containers made of expended polystyrene, its purpose being the reduction in the amount of plastic waste and to encourage the use of packaging made from natural fibers, which is biodegradable and compostable in a safe and healthy manner for the environment.
Our team can send you a personalized offer for alternatives to packaging designs for online, catering-type orders, which are also cost efficient – our natural fiber range consisting in trays, bowls, plates, hinged lid containers.
Contact us for more details!