With the global population expected to grow to over 9 billion and demand for food to increase respectively, food manufacturers, distributors and consumers continue to look for ways to reduce food waste and the negative environmental impacts of food packaging.
Food packaging plays an essential role in protecting the food as it moves through the supply chain.
Food processors are working to reduce food preparation waste, batch mistakes and inadequate shelf life while wholesale and retail distributors are tasked with reducing damage in transit and storage. These present opportunities for new innovations in food packaging design, supplies, materials, and labeling.
Here are 5 ways packaging can reduce food waste
1) Partner with custom food packaging suppliers to work through a packaging selection process that considers the natural characteristics and shelf life, logistics, transport distances and lead times, storage and handling conditions. For example, shelf-ready reusable and ventilated packaging could reduce produce food waste due to less handling.
Packaging considerations for food packaging:
- Material selection & weights
- Food Packaging design
- Dimension and shape (ergonomics)
- Interaction between packaging levels
- Mechanical and chemical characteristics
- Packing line efficiency Filling / packing line speed
- Handling efficiency
- Cube utilization
- Ease to open, dispense and close
- Stability and robustness through supply chain
- Warehousing, stocking and stacking
- Inventory control
- Filling, order picking, sorting and packing
- End of life waste management options
- Transport mode, distances
- Warehouse Infrastructure conditions
- Loading/unloading operations
- Change of transport modalities
- Product containment
- Product protection and preservation
- Product convenience
- Temperature and humidity control
- Product quality
- Product shelf life
- Product safety
- Product communication
- Packaging material costs
- Equipment costs
- Waste management costs
- Marketing costs
2) Designs of primary and secondary food packages can be evaluated to ensure that they effectively protect the food products as they move through the supply chain. Innovations in primary packaging technologies will extend shelf life. Mono and multi-layer film and food packages like bag products with a wide selection of polymers allow for custom blended resins that protect products from spoilage and damage.
3) Flexible packaging films can be tailored to match the vapor transmission rate of the specific food product to maximize its shelf life. A key technology that controls the vapor transmission rate is the use of industrial lasers to micro-perforate the flexible packaging material. Read about about advances in laser micro-perforated flexible packaging for extended product shelf life here.
4) Food packaging films with multi-layers (up to 9 layers) and co-extruded can be specially formulated to provide oxygen, odor and moisture barriers, abuse resistance, improved machine ability and strength. Ask Century Flexible Packaging about these films.
5) Ensuring labels are legible so consumers can make informed buying decisions. Illegible labels get passed over by shoppers even when heavily discounted resulting in food waste.
As the global population and food demand continues to rise, food manufacturers and distributors should actively seek out new innovations and technologies including custom food packaging designs and food packaging supplies that contribute to the overall reduction of food waste and negative environmental impacts.
Contact Century Flexible Packaging for consultation in custom food packaging design and food packaging supplies.