"The food packaging industry can make a valuable contribution to reducing the wastage of food. Appropriate packaging strategies help to protect food along the value chain and to make food available to more people. Packaging preserves food, protects it from physical damage and temperature influences and makes it transportable.” At the recent Interpack 2011 trade event in Dusseldorf, Germany Christian Traumann, president of the event and chief financial officer of Multivac, acknowledged the issue of food waste as one of the most pressing problems we face worldwide.
What I find shocking about the discussion at Interpack is the revelation from a study provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): one third of all the food produced for humans is either lost or wasted. One third! You can read more about the Interpack 2011 event via Mike Stones’ article in Food Production Daily.
The upshot is that there is not a shortage of food on our planet, but that the food doesn’t get to the intended consumers. Crops can spoil on farms. Once harvested and shipped, foods can be compromised anywhere from the processing factory to the dining table. Any or all of these challenges can be drastically reduced with proper packaging. This theory was addressed by Werner Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Dusseldorf (organizers of Interpack), who said, “The central issue here is that the sheer amount of crops that spoil on farms or still useable food that we throw away, would be enough on its own to feed those people who go hungry. In both these scenarios, packaging can help.”
In developed countries where food is abundant, we often throw away items, including foods, when we’re bored with them. Expiration dates or “good through” dates on food are adhered to and more is wasted - that precaution may be one part safety and one part planned obsolescence on behalf of the manufacturer.
Bottom line: better packaging would mean more people are fed, fewer people go hungry - that’s the best news I've heard in a while.
Intercept Technology Packaging products fit within a sustainability strategy because they are reusable, recyclable, do not contain or use volatile components (No VOCs, Not a VCI) and leave a smaller carbon footprint than most traditional protective packaging products.