May 14th, 2020

 

For the most of us, food is something to enjoy with family and friends. Many people experience cooking as a hobby or a reason to travel around the world to enjoy local tastes and dishes. We, living in the developed countries don’t need to pay too much attention to where and how we will get our daily bread. As we all know, there are areas in the world where population growth, poverty, conflicts and extreme weathers such as drought create a totally different scenario for the local people, when it comes to food. The climate change with the increased amount of extreme weathers and conditions is not helping the situation.

 

There are now around 7.7 billion people living on Earth. The United Nations estimates that the population will grow to 8.5 billion by 2030 and to 9.7 billion by 2050. More than half of the global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa. As the number of people is increasing so is the need for food. All of our food is based on agriculture which requires arable area, water, minerals and other resources, not forgetting the right weather conditions. Globally, the food price has already started to rise and the number of unnourished people has been on the rise since 2014. What this means in practice is that 1 in 9 people are experiencing chronic hunger and 1 in 4 children is stunted which means they haven’t had enough nutritious food to grow.

What does this have to do with the food waste in Europe?

 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that each year, approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted. The global volume of edible food wastage is estimated to be 1.3 Gtonnes. According to their research it seems clear that a reduction of food wastage at global, regional, and national scales would have a substantial positive effect on natural and societal resources. Food wastage reduction would not only avoid pressure on scarce natural resources but also decrease the need to raise food production by 60 percent in order to meet the 2050 population demand. This would also mean that we would not need to increase the amount cultivated areas for food production thus protecting our natural habitats and forests. In the EU, around 88 million tonnes of food waste is generated annually with associated costs estimated at 143 billion euros. (EU Fusions 2016). The European Commission has evaluated that some 43 million people in the EU cannot afford a quality meal every second day and the global food price will have an effect also to the lives of these European people. Both the European Union’s Circular Economy Strategy as well as the UN’s sustainable development goals are aiming to reduce food waste by 50% by the year of 2030. This will require actions throughout the food supply chain, including the packaging industry.

 

Wasting food is an ethical, environmental and financial issue. The good news is that there are many things we can do throughout the value chain to minimize food waste. When it comes to packaging, the packing of products itself minimizes the waste by protecting the products from oxygen, dirt, mould and microbes.

 

How to decrease food waste through packaging?

 

The key to decrease food waste is to know your customers, your products and your supply chain. There are more than one factor causing food waste and we are able to have a positive effect in each touch point through packaging.

Products

 

The main purpose for any packaging is to protect the packed products and provide the longest possible shelf life. It is crucially important to know what are the specified requirements your product has for its packaging. The requirements may vary even between different crops when it comes to fresh produce, for example. Amerplast has years of experience in food packaging and we cooperate with the best research institutes in food science. We even have our own laboratory to measure respiration rates of fresh produce to create the optimal packaging to maximize the products’ shelf life.

Customers

 

Customers have different needs and preferences when it comes to food packaging. You need to be aware of consumers’ needs and their behavior to provide them with suitable size packaging or packaging with waste preventing functionalities such as reclosability. It has been studied that in Europe the number of single person households is growing which increases the need for smaller pack sizes.

Supply Chain

 

Optimising the supply chain and keeping the logistic conditions as consistent as possible decreases food waste. The temperatures should remain unchanged until your product reaches the consumers. Changing conditions will make it harder to develop suitable packaging and optimizing your products quality and extending shelf life.

We are cooperating with our customers to decrease food waste throughout the value chain by optimized packaging. Our mission as part of our AmerGreen program is to promote circular economy and prevent food waste and decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. We offer our support and know-how to develop packaging solutions that not only decrease food waste but are also recyclable and made from sustainable raw materials. We are making a change together with our customers one food packaging at a time.

 

Contact our experts to discuss how we can optimize your packaging to meet the needs of sustainable packaging.

 

Sources:

United Nations
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
European Commission

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