The New Year is underway and one New Year resolution is getting a unanimous vote: Stop wasting food. Individuals, but also market players and institutions are pledging to reduce food waste. The European Parliament wants to declare 2014 European Year Against Food Waste and has called for action to halve food waste by 2025. The European Commission has launched a working group on food losses and food waste assembling a variety of food chain stakeholders. 

The problem is widespread. Consumers are the biggest culprits, but waste occurs in the supply chain as well: for example figures released in October 2013 show that 28,500 tonnes of food was wasted in Tesco’s stores and distribution centres in the first six months of 2013 alone. In order to tackle the problem in a coordinated manner, retailers and retail associations from across Europe have signed a voluntary agreement in committing to reduce waste. Brand owners too have launched a number of awareness campaigns to inform the public on how to avoid excessive wastage of food.

The packaging industry is ideally placed to contribute to this movement. Corrugated packaging plays a vital role in protecting food as it moves through the supply chain. It physically protects the products, and innovations in packaging design lead to easier handling. Communication of supply chain information and printed instructions prevent food damage or loss during the journey from farm to consumer. Packaging can also influence the consumer with printed advice and physical features. Great example: New Zealand–based Hell Pizza uses a pizza box with a central perforated section that separates to become a coffin-shaped container with the legend “for your remains.” (pictured)

In 2014 we will be taking part in the Packaging Waste and Sustainability conference covering the Food Waste issue. We will also be taking part in the Save Food initiative at Interpack in Dusseldorf in May 2014.

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