The threat of the COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly thrust health and safety to the forefront of the public conscience. The virus’s rapid transmission through airborne germs, personal contact, and particularly ‘hotspots’ of infection that it generates has reminded us how vital practising proper hygiene is to not only our health but the health of our economy. For consumers to feel safe while undertaking everyday activities like grocery shopping, additional measures must be put in place – and this is where hygienic packaging will be essential.
At Caps & Closures, we believe that the packaging industry will have a significant role to play in meeting the increasing consumer demand for hygiene. If each company works together towards a solution, we can realise a safer, healthier, and COVID-free way of life. So after extensive research and discussion, we’ve compiled the four innovations that will drive hygienic packaging.
1. Anti-microbial materials
The first, and perhaps most significant innovation in hygienic packaging comes in the form of anti-microbial materials. This cutting-edge development consists of an anti-microbial coating on plastic that kills bacteria by making the surface inhospitable. Packaging can also do this by the inclusion of anti-microbial ‘additives’ that are available in a variety of forms.
Caps and Closures is working with leading anti-microbial material providers to deliver technology that can be added to the packaging at any stage of the process. It’s compatible with materials such as plastics, paints, and textiles, and adding it to your packaging will:
- Reduce bacteria by 99.99%
- Deactivate some viruses
- Reduce cross-contamination
- Make it easier to keep hygienic and clean
- Offer lasting protection from bacteria and mould
Products and brands adopting this technology would undoubtedly drive enormous progress in making the purchasing of food and goods a far safer exercise. Perhaps just as importantly, it would convince consumers that products are safe to handle – boosting consumer confidence and improving the outlook for businesses. For enquiries on integrating anti-microbial technologies into your packaging, get in touch with Caps & Closures.
2. Demand for tamper-evident packaging
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of tamper-evident packaging, as the fear of infection serves as a necessary reminder that such cautionary measures are in place for a reason. With the rising popularity of food delivery services, products pass through many hands before reaching the consumer – who now demand assurance that it has not been infected or handled in a way that may place them at risk. While not a new technology, tamper-evident packaging is a rich ground for new innovations and uptakes.
Tamper-evident packaging usually provides a physical barrier to opening packaging that, when damaged, demonstrates to consumers that the product has been tampered with. Common examples include the plastic rings around milk caps and the foil seals that can be found on bottled products – such as our 63mm tamper-evident cap. In addition to supermarkets and retailers, delivery services are also experiencing an increasing demand for tamper-evident labels on their food, as more and more people opt for the convenience and no-contact nature of their services.
Are we heading towards a future where consumers will demand the safety guarantee of tamper-evident packaging on all products? Quite possibly – and this will open the door for an influx of new innovations in the area. As the importance of one’s personal health and safety remains paramount, one thing is for certain – businesses cannot afford to lose consumer confidence in times like these, and tamper-evident packaging may be the key to ensuring this doesn’t happen.
3. Hand sanitiser dispensers
Hand-sanitiser companies have undoubtedly been one of the few winners of this pandemic, as their product has become a staple in supermarkets, retailers, and homes throughout the globe. While they may seem like a relatively simple form of technology, there is much room for innovation to make them both easier to use and more hygienic.
How many times have you used the hand-sanitiser stationed at the entry of a store, only for it to dispense out an excessive amount of liquid, leaving your hands sticky, wet, and in need of something to dry them off on? Fortunately, the answer to this problem already exists in the form of ‘metered’ dispenser closures. Caps & Closures produce a range of lotion pumps and sprays that dispense ‘metered’ doses – allowing you to specify the amount of hand-sanitiser or disinfectant that comes out.
4. Killing bacteria with UV light
Though not classified as packaging, UV light has its own role to play in ensuring that food and products are prepared and packaged hygienically. While it has previously been used to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses, we may see it become more commonly adopted to sterilise packaging surfaces – both with the supplier and on shelves.
UV light is a particularly good option for sanitation because it kills bacteria regardless of drug resistance and without toxic chemicals. UV light works by destroying the molecular bonds that hold the DNA of viruses and bacteria, hence killing it. This method would make UV light a valuable tool for sterilising any substance, i.e. milk powder, raw meat or pre-packaged food, that cannot be sanitised using cleaning products.
In addition to being used by suppliers to sterilise their preparation surfaces and equipment, we may begin to see the introduction of UV sanitising devices into the retail settings in the near future. Supermarket shelves equipped with UV lighting would ensure that any bacteria passed on through the handling of food is killed before it can be transmitted to other shoppers. Furthermore, it could be introduced on self-serve checkout machines as a means of the disinfecting point of sale devices. These innovative applications of a tried and tested technology would be a fantastic step towards a more hygienic shopping experience, giving customers the peace of mind required to return to life as usual.
How can we apply these innovations?
As consumer confidence and business performance are inherently tied, these innovations in hygienic packaging will be essential to restoring public health and safety and stabilising our economy. As industry-leaders in developing innovative packaging and closures, Caps & Closures offers creative workshopping sessions to help you move forward with a new product concept. With decades of practical experience and multiple design awards, we are the ideal partner for your new product development – drop us a message and get in touch!