Packaging plays vital role in reducing food waste

Friday, 18 January, 2013


Packaging could play a vital role in reducing food waste, according to LINPAC Packaging’s Director Alan Davey. Following the release of a report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers that shows half of the world’s food is wasted, Davey said that retailers, food manufacturers and the packaging industry should work together to tackle the problem.

“It would not be wrong to say that if packaging was invented today it would be regarded as one of the greatest green technologies due to its protective and preserving qualities,” Davey said.

“Imagine a world without packaging; the manufacture, transport, distribution and consumption of virtually every consumer good would be impossible. Quality packaging can significantly reduce waste across the entire supply chain by giving food a longer shelf life and ensures food can be transported around the world safely and securely.”

According to Davey, food packaging companies are working smarter than ever before to develop packaging that is lighter, more sustainable and more recyclable but still fit for purpose in terms of protecting, preserving and presenting food to a high standard.

The increase in single-person households also has an impact on pack design, Davey said. Research carried out by Defra, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, shows single-person households are the worst offenders when it comes to food waste, throwing away 22% of the food they buy.

In response to this, LINPAC has developed a split pack range for fresh and cooked meats, which allows contents to be split into portion-sized compartments. This allows consumers to store food in the fridge for longer without compromising food safety.

“While food waste remains such a major problem for the environment, it is essential for all the links in the food supply chain to play their part in solving the problem,” Davey said.

“At LINPAC Packaging, we are acutely aware of our role in helping consumers minimise waste by designing innovative packaging solutions which enable them to only select the food they want to use and in maximising the shelf life of stored products in their homes.”

LINPAC has also teamed up with Addmaster to develop a range of trays and films with antimicrobial technology to reduce bacteria growth on the outer packaging of fresh meat. The technology helps reduce spoilage and increase the shelf life of food by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, moulds and yeast, as well as reducing the risk of pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter.

“Food waste and sustainable packaging is very much at the top of the agenda and we are committed to developing packaging solutions which are innovative, groundbreaking and capable of addressing the challenges of the future,” said Davey.

The IMechE report, Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not, is available on the IMechE website: www.imeche.org.

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