Sustainable Packaging - Did Covid-19 change everything?

Our latest research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sustainable packaging and how to adapt your packaging design and messaging

DS Smith and Ipsos MORI, a global leader in market research, have conducted a new study that reveals despite the global health crisis, shoppers still have their eye on the environment; with 85% of buyers wanting to buy products that use as little packaging as possible, and almost a third (29%) disclosing that they have stopped purchasing specific brands on the grounds that their packaging was not sustainable.


Regarding consumer perceptions of sustainability, the research concludes that whilst habits may have changed, attitudes have not, and it is these attitudes which continue to evolve. Notably, we discuss the extent to which consumers continue to prioritize sustainable packaging, and the willingness to act in favour of sustainable packaging has marginally increased. Furthermore, we emphasise the commercial risk for both brands and e-commerce retailers, in the absence of sustainable packaging and just how difficult it has become to ‘intercept’ the shopper journey.

Despite a rise in importance associated with products being ‘packaged using hygienic packaging’, this does not mean that brands and retailers can overlook their environmental efforts. Our research findings highlight the implications for Sustainable Packaging across 3 key areas:


DS Smith launches their first virtual customer event

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, its implications continue to affect traditional business processes, and DS Smith is responding by maximising virtual and hybrid customer interactions. On the 10th of November, DS Smith hosted its first virtual customer event in the UK, held at scale across Europe. The event brought in close to 300 external attendees from over 140 brands and retailers.

DS Smith experts took to the virtual stage to answer your questions and attendees were invited to explore the event platform using cutting edge technology to experience an afternoon of content, enabling them to;

  • Enter an immersive, self-guided, 360° tour of our Impact Centre and retail simulation
  • Customise your virtual agenda by choosing the retail or E-commerce seminar streams
  • Help solve tomorrow’s biggest packaging challenges by participating in our design hackathon
  • Virtually network with others from the industry


Following the virtual event, DS Smith has taken the time to interpret the research and determine trends that have supported the development of new innovative packaging solutions to meet consumers demand for more sustainable packaging and to address their hygiene concerns.

Discover the future sustainable packaging

We see from the rest of our research, that this perception of sustainability is driving some surprising and significant changes in how consumers interact with packaging which could drive new needs for packaging design.

Our latest White Paper ‘Sustainable Packaging – Did Covid-19 change everything?’ will tell you more about how packaging design and messaging needs to adapt to Covid-19 trends. Not just by eliminating single-use plastic but through innovative packaging solutions that still protect the product from damage, food waste or hygiene-related concerns.