16 Dec. 2020. Both DS Smith and James Cropper have commissioned research that highlight the public's increasing interest in packaging hygiene. Read these two interesting stories below:

As we adjust to the new normal with packaging playing an ever greater role in our lives, fears around packaging safety are front of mind. Six in ten consumers now claim to wash their hands thoroughly after touching packaged groceries and household products. 

These fears could be eased today following the announcement that DS Smith, the leading sustainable packaging company, is exclusively partnering with Touchguard to develop a new range of bacteria and virus-safeguarded sustainable cardboard packaging across its operations in Europe and North America.

While there is no evidence of virus transfer from cardboard, the easily identifiable touch-safe zones can be applied at scale across a range of industries and applications meaning the anti-viral and anti-bacterial packaging provides an additional layer of protection as consumers and workers throughout the supply chain remain wary.

Not surprisingly, the importance of products ‘packaged in hygienic packaging’ is high among consumers with more than half (57%) saying they wash their hands thoroughly after touching e-commerce packaged products and 30% throw packaging away more quickly. DS Smith’s research, conducted with Ipsos MORI, suggests packaging hygiene will continue to be a priority in years to come.

The new patented technology is effective across a range of bacteria and viruses including envelope viruses, of which COVID-19 is a member [1]. This virus family requires its envelope and spikes to attach and replicate to host cells, but Touchguard® disrupts the envelope to prevent the virus from replicating, effectively mitigating the risk of person-to-person transfer. It has a proven kill rate of 99.5% in under 15 minutes on bacteria types and envelope viruses and eliminates the risk of person-to-person transfer of infections such as MRSA and E.coli.

Alan Potts, Design and Innovation Director for DS Smith commented: “Whilst it would never replace good hygiene practices and due care, this technology has the potential to bring a real and proven additional layer of protection to our customers and their consumers as packaging moves across the supply chain. Importantly, this technology maintains the sustainability of our products and it is 100% recyclable.”

Meanwhile, with 89% of adults say they will continue to shop online at the same level or even more post the summer’s lockdown [2], this proven technology will further build consumers’ confidence around handling packaging in their homes.

Julian Dugdale, the inventor and CEO of Touchguard said:“Our partnership with DS Smith provides us with an opportunity to bring our patented Touchguard® technology to the market at scale through its sustainable packaging offer. With its manufacturing reach across Europe and the US and an extensive e-commerce and fast-moving consumer goods customer base, we will be able to offer a range of solutions to support changing consumer habits.”

The new range promises to support the sustainable packaging market with potential scope across a variety of areas including e-commerce and food packaging, while still being 100% recyclable. The Touchguard coating and packaging will hold certification to AATCC100 (MOD), ISO18184:2019 (MOD) and also complies with BfR36 recommendations for food-contact materials.

As part of its recently launched Now and Next Sustainability Strategy, DS Smith has committed to closing the loop through better design and by 2023, it will manufacture 100% reusable or recyclable packaging. More details on its wider sustainability strategy can be found here.

About the Research
DS Smith partnered with the world leading consumer research company Ipsos MORI to conduct the research. Ipsos MORI interviewed an online sample of 8,500 adults aged 18-65 in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden and 500 adults aged 18-55 in Portugal between the 24th September and the 19th October 2020. Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions for age, gender, region and working status within each country.

Fresh research on behalf of James Cropper has highlighted consumer concerns about hygiene and packaging – which should bode well for its PaperGard product protection offering.

The research was carried out in October and involved more than 2,000 adult consumers.

86% of the people surveyed said they believed that concerns about safety and hygiene would remain even when the pandemic is over.

More than 77% said they considered the hygiene of products and packaging when their purchases were delivered, or when browsing in stores.

James Cropper described hygiene as now being “the number one concern” around packaging.

The survey also found that 62% would choose to buy something packaged in a material that fought pathogens such as Covid-19, MRSA and Norovirus if they were aware the product had special packaging.

The Cumbrian papermaker’s PaperGard innovation uses Addmaster’s Biomaster silver-ion antimicrobial treatment, which is built into the paper during manufacturing and remains active for the life of the product.

It is effective against both bacteria and viruses.

PaperGard has been tested against the ISO 18184 standard and is “now proven to be effective at reducing the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, on the surface of paper”, James Cropper stated.

The tests showed that in 15 minutes PaperGard reduced the viability of the virus by more than 95%, rising to 99.9% within two hours.

James Cropper marketing and technical director Richard Bracewell commented: “PaperGard has been part of our range since 2006 but since the pandemic the demand for this kind of protected paper packaging has increased. These recent tests clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of the product on the paper surface against SARS-CoV-2, the enveloped virus that is responsible for Covid-19.”

PaperGard has already been regularly used for the production of medical and healthcare documents, but the technology can also be applied across James Cropper’s range of paper products, which includes papers and boards for premium packaging or greetings cards “that are subject to a lot of handling”.

The qualities of the paper are not affected by the treatment. However, if a design involved completely over-printing the surface or an overall varnish, then the recommended solution would be to include the Biomaster treatment in the print or varnish.

By Jo Francis, https://www.printweek.com/