Packaging production is reaching levels ‘as high as Christmas’ as supermarkets struggle to keep up with panic buyers, stockpiling food and cosmetic goods.

Print companies across Europe are balancing between keeping staff safe and keeping up with production requirements which are going into overdrive.      

Vince Hughes, coating and technical manager at Interket, said ‘As suppliers to the dairy markets we have seen an uplift from most customers. We also supply the NHS and have increased orders from that sector also.

‘As we work 24hrs we can’t really add any more capacity other than overtime. We have arranged night shifts for Fridays and Sundays and Saturday day working until we are not in a position to cover due to staff shortages.’

Liz Waters, CEO of Watershed Group, said, ‘Printing houses are experiencing a spike in orders due to panic buying of mainly food items, which necessitates the most stringent protocols and adherence to them for us to remain open and react quickly to market requirements.’

Eleftherios Kassianidis, sales director, UK & Ireland at A. Hatzopoulos, said ‘We observed a month-on-month increase of 6% in incoming orders in February, relative to January, and anticipate an increase of a further 11% in March. Our current projection, on the basis of the latest forecasts by large retailer/distributor, engendering ca. 70% of our turnover in the UK, indicates an increase of 21% in incoming orders at the end of April, again relative to the end of January.’

FFP are also experiencing high volumes of orders, despite working mainly with fresh food packaging, Helen Clements, commercial director said, ‘It has been crazy, we’ve seen such a high number of orders come through, with a one retailer we work with saying that demand is high as it is at Christmas.’