Sustainable Food Packaging: Reducing Food Waste with Film barriers
As food manufacturers and packaging suppliers realize the environmental impacts that food packaging has, they continue to weigh these impacts with the demand for packaging materials that give greater protection to their products, extend shelf life and meet consumer demands for convenience.
Three Key Considerations for Sustainable Food packaging
1) Reducing Food Waste – Maintaining food safety through extended shelf life and protection from damage during distribution reduces food waste and minimizes environmental impact.
2) Source Reduction – Using less packaging, designing packaging to last longer reduces waste ultimately generated by packaging. Source reduction in packaging can be achieved by using thinner gauges of packaging materials, purchasing durable goods, or refillable containers, selecting nontoxic products and right sizing the packaging to meet the needs of consumers.
3) Recyclability- Carefully selecting materials following EPA guidelines and considering the recyclability can minimize environmental impact however, food safety must continue to be the first priority.
Primary food packaging like barrier technologies are known to be effective in extending food shelf life thereby reducing food waste. Barrier technologies have and are predicted to experience exponential market growth.
Film barriers are a food packaging supply that provides AV protection, prevents oxygen transfers, odors and enhances moisture barrier and gas barrier properties. Multi-layer barrier packaging further protects food from moisture, gases and odor. Barrier measurements will assist food manufacturers in determining the number of layers required to protect the products safety while contributing to source reduction. A combination of polymers, aluminum, foil and/or coatings protect food products and are commonly found in today’s most innovative flexible food packaging supplies. High barrier films can be found in several main flexible packaging products like bags and pouches, standup pouches, tray lidding film, forming webs, wrapping film and blister-pack base webs. While combining these packaging materials for product protection is necessary to keep out moisture and oxygen that delays product degradation, they can create recycling challenges.
Another consideration to minimizing environmental impacts of food packaging include right sizing packaging, or offering single and smaller serve food product packages that reduce waste by meeting the needs of single and smaller person households.
As researchers continue to identify new materials to manufacture innovative barrier technologies that can better meet recycling needs, food packaging will continue to change and grow. With food safety as the first priority, packaging suppliers will watch what packaging manufacturers provide to answer the call for innovations in barrier films and other food packaging supplies that allow food manufacturers to meet the demands to lower environmental impacts, (particularly in the area of recycling), while extending shelf life and meeting the demands of consumers.
Contact Century Flexible Packaging to:
- Identify food packaging supplies that best protect food products while reducing materials
- Measure film barrier needs to meet your food product safety while reducing packaging materials
- Stay in the know of new technologies in food packaging