A United Nations estimate suggests that almost one-third of the food produced in the world doesn’t get consumed. That’s a shocking reality of the modern world. Whereas feeding the rapidly growing world is a challenge, it’s also a sad fact that the packaging world has not yet been able to step in with a solution. EPA estimates that every year, food constitutes 15% of landfill waste.
Research by the Technical University of Denmark shows that in terms of environmental impact related to food production and distribution, food production has 70% environmental impact, and post-producing storage and distribution has almost 30% impact. However, only 1% of the total impact is represented by packaging. However, because of the ability of food packaging to extend the shelf life of food, and to ensure safe transit and storage, the focus needs to shift on this often-ignored aspect of the global food wastage problem. If your business has anything to do with food packaging, now is the time to get smart. This guide will help, read on.
The average portion size of food consumed by an individual varies across geographies, product categories, and markets. Food product manufacturers and packaging solution providers can significantly reduce food wastage by rethinking their product packaging in the context of portion sizes. It makes sense to divide the product into small portions and include multiple portions in a bigger packaging. This gives customers exactly what they need for a meal, and they can take multiple helpings if needed. Such functional packaging also helps brands reposition their slow-moving products. This also helps you target your product at markets such as small households and solo consumers.
Tip: Seek the services of an experienced customized packaging solution provider. That’s because you don’t want to use excessive packaging material to make your ‘several small portions in a larger pack’ SKU. Check out #AvocadoGate; apparent overuse of packaging to improve the shelf life of pre-peeled avocados caused social media outrage!
Package Labeling as A Means to Reduce Food Wastage
Manufactures don’t always have to make sweeping changes in food packaging designs to make an impact. For instance, most food packages are required to clearly show information such as use by date, best before date, suggested portion size, etc. However, most food packages show this information via miniature printed labels at the back of the packaging (or at even more inaccessible locations such as under the bottle, at the inside of the packet seam, etc.
Not being able to find the expiry dates, best before dates, and use by dates on their food packages causes most consumers to simply throw away leftover products. Instead, food packaging can be made a lot better. The information about safe usage needs to come to the front, be a lot more prominent, and be presented in bold print. This will help consumers ‘remember’ to plan their food consumption so as to not end up throwing the unconsumed food away thinking it would have gone bad.
Advanced Technology Powered Packaging
Much like everything else, technology is changing the face of packaging in several ways. Thankfully there’s a lot of innovation happening around the idea of high tech packaging solutions that can prevent food spoilage.
- Odor scavenger technology in packing used for poultry and dairy products to reduce product returns caused by malodorous products.
- Active Barrier packaging that uses oxygen scavengers integrated into the packaging, helping restaurants and all kinds of food businesses prevent food wastage because of microorganism growth.
- Sensor-enabled packaging that can communicate changes in temperature, humidity, and pH, and help logistics partners as well as storage partners to take timely actions for preventing damage.
Though the costs of these packaging technologies remain prohibitive for food products manufacturers, it is likely that they’ll be much more accessible and affordable in a few years.
Resealable and Easy Pour Packaging
A packaging design change as simple as allowing for a ziplock or any other resealing mechanism at the opening of the package can deliver tremendous benefits. Here are some of them –
Consumers can use the entire packet mouth space to access the food product inside. This helps them draw out precisely the amount they need, which in turn minimize per-use wastage.
In many cases, consumers use a single utensil such as a spoon to draw out food from different containers. This often causes cross-contamination in foods, resulting in early spoilage. However, an easy extraction mechanism solves this problem. That’s because consumers can simply extract the required portion size without using a spoiled spoon for the same.
Apart from these benefits, resealable packaging promotes the idea of food consumption directly from the packet instead of transferring it to containers and storage boxes (thus preventing wastage in transfer from one box to another).
With all these potential benefits, and each of them promising a concrete improvement in the user experience, and reducing food wastage in the process, food brands have every reason to engage a packaging solution provider with expertise in developing and manufacturing packaging for all kinds of food items.
Consumers think highly of brands that help them fight the problem of food waste. Not only does food waste aggravate global problems, but also kicks your bottom line and reputation in the backside. Act when there’s time, and you can position your brand as an environmentally friendly brand before market conditions and regulations make it mandatory for all food product manufacturers to actively invest in better packaging.
This is a collaborative post