Innovative Alternatives, Digitalization and Individualization - Challenges and Trends Awaiting the Printing and Packaging Industry in 2021

Alexandra Ablöscher

Each year comes with changes and new challenges - and 2021 is no exception. Just like last year, COVID-19 has had a significant impact not only on our private lives but also on the way people work within companies and has changed the way we live our lives. But even if we sometimes feel like the world stands still, it keeps turning. New trends not only develop because of the usual, continuous change and further advancement but in some cases move in very specific directions as a result of the pandemic. This blog post deals with the trends that have emerged so far in 2021 in the print and packaging industry.



For more information on sustainability and the new plastics strategy of the EU, check out this blog post!

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COVID-19 and the packaging industry

The pandemic has unavoidably led to changes in consumer behavior. More and more transactions are carried out in the area of e-commerce, while at the same time, demands regarding the protection the packaging should offer have been increasing. Furthermore, the purchased product is supposed to be packaged in a sustainable way. For businesses, the focus is not only sustainability, but also cost efficiency and optimizations such as the elimination of unnecessary packaging characteristics. However, the companies’ viewpoints are not the only ones that are relevant. The following paragraph primarily concentrates on consumer demands and how they have been changing.


The consumer’s utopia

The modern consumer increasingly looks for environmentally friendly alternatives and pays more and more attention to their personal ecological footprint. Therefore, businesses of all kinds are seeking to minimize their impact on the environment and see sustainable packaging as part of the solution. Recycled paper, plastics, or the complete avoidance of plastics - new prototypes are tested to be able to meet consumer demands in the future. The idea of a zero-waste society is becoming more and more popular. Sustainability and recycling are first steps towards the future. The European legislators have been reacting to this new mindset and already presented a plastics strategy in 2018, according to which all plastic packaging placed on the EU market should be either recyclable or reusable by 2030. With the change in consumers’ mentality and the prioritization of values such as sustainability, the EU’s objective is aligned more and more with the demands of the public.

What trends can we expect in the printing and packaging industry?

Sustainability is not the only trend in 2021. Due to increasing digitalization, it is important for companies to adapt to new circumstances. In this regard, new infrastructures and digital printing technology are seen as an opportunity to make the printing process more flexible and affordable. The demand for individual print products is increasing. To meet this demand for customizability, efficiency must be increased. A further trend to achieve customizability is the improvement of functionality and the automation of production processes, which represents the first step towards the printing industry 4.0.


The trends in the printing and packaging industry go towards sustainability and individualization. COVID-19 further contributes to these increasing demands by consumers. With enhanced functionality and the automation of processes, companies will be able to meet these expectations. COSMO Print and Packaging will help you to optimally prepare yourself so that you are ready to face these challenges and demands. Any questions? Get in touch with our experts Pia Gegenhuber und Stefan Riedl.


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Alexandra Ablöscher
Marketing & Communications