This week, we sat down with Craig Fox, Executive Vice President of Fox Packaging, for a quick Q & A about packaging trends amidst COVID-19.
Q: How has COVID-19 affected Fox Packaging?
A: COVID-19 has affected our entire industry in an extraordinary way. We were proactive in forecasting our customers’ needs and in communicating with our suppliers, and even now, we continue to feel the impact of what has been a variation of what would be business as usual.
Q: What are the most relevant trends that you are seeing in the industry right now?
A: We are seeing considerable change in the fresh produce industry, a majority of it coming from a sustainability approach. As retailers continue to call for review of packaging programs, buyers are approaching their orders by asking questions that we did not typically hear prior. We have created resources to streamline these inquires; we understand the importance of straightforward education, especially regarding complex topics such as recyclability, materials, and truly reasonable sustainable options.
As a result of COVID-19, we also saw an increase of requests for automation solutions for Combo, Wicketed, and Combo Ultra Shield bags. This served as a direct correlation of the demand that retailers were placing on our supply chain.
Q: Which accommodations has your team needed to make to keep up with demand?
A: More communication. Packaging is a critical component of the distribution chain. During times as sensitive as these, we’ve been sure to offer extended communication to customers to let them know about the status of their orders in transparency.
We’ve also been proactive in expanding our production capacity by incorporating new machinery. Recently, we’ve added an additional printing press to our facility which equips print jobs to run at reduced times.
Q: Why is packaging such an important part of the supply chain?
A: In a time of uncertainty, each measure taken ultimately makes a difference. Packaging, in itself, streamlines the packing process through automation solutions, protects produce from damage during transit, and in these times especially protects from direct human contact. The physical design encourages consumers to purchase out of loyalty and habit through brand recognition, increasing a brands ability to push more product and create fast-moving items. Packaging also allows brands to represent themselves through their art and messaging, communicating recipes, nutrition, and recycling information.