Flexible packaging leader Parkside Flexibles (‘Parkside’) has issued a call for the packaging industry to play its part in cutting food waste in 2023, following the release of a key study from European statistical office Eurostat.
The study found that 127kg of food per person was wasted every year in Europe, with households accounting for 55% of that waste, equating to 70kg per household on average. The other 45% was generated throughout the supply chain, including through the manufacture, processing, and distribution of food products.
“The food industry must not lose sight of the fact that packaging’s primary role is to prevent waste, not to generate it,” said Joshua Swann, Head of Technical at Parkside. “The drive to use more sustainable substrates is vital, but any packaging solution must be fit for purpose to protect and preserve food products through the supply chain. At a time when supply chains are still stretched and costs are rising, finding the right packaging solution is more important now than it has ever been.
“Through innovation driven by evolving consumer behaviour and legislation, the packaging industry has a huge part to play in the fight against food waste,” Swann continued. “For example, now PP recycling infrastructure is more common, this opens the door for innovation using techniques such as metallisation, and so on – capitalising on the fact that PP is a more functional monopolymer than PE and PET.”
Swann also points to advances in the functionality of flexible packaging, which can protect food while using less material than tray and carton solutions, and compostable packaging for certain food applications.
“Low-plastic, plastic-free, and compostable flexible solutions are at a point where they can be hermetically sealed and cope with the rigours of a modern packing line as effectively as plastic,” he added. “However, it’s important to remember there is no one-size-fits-all solution, with soft fruits having very different requirements from frozen meats, for example. And, of course, packaging still needs to look appealing, as unsold food also contributes to the global waste problem.
“Some good news is that food waste is falling, but there is still a long way to go. We’re dedicated to helping food brands cut waste at Parkside, while employing material reduction and replacement, recycling, or renewable and reusable packaging to find the optimal solution for any application.”
The study, conducted during 2020 and published at the end of 2022, can be found on the Eurostat website.
Parkside is regarded as a market leader in innovative, high-performance flexible packaging solutions. To learn more, visit www.parksideflex.com.