Cutting Food Waste: a Dream?15 Sep 2014
Isn’t it frustrating for you, dear reader, as an executive, an important cog in the food industry, to see between 20 and 75% of what you stand for being wasted? The purpose of the food and beverage industry is to meet the needs of the consumer. It is both sad and hard to believe, in […]
Isn’t it frustrating for you, dear reader, as an executive, an important cog in the food industry, to see between 20 and 75% of what you stand for being wasted? The purpose of the food and beverage industry is to meet the needs of the consumer. It is both sad and hard to believe, in a world where we can communicate with each other globally quicker than the blinking of an eye, that we are unable to keep food products from going bad within a single country.
I realise that part of the problem is political and this is not the place to discuss those issues. However, a lot can already be achieved by using and developing the means we already have and by adding a significant portion of common sense.
I talked at a conference this summer with farmers about their aims and purposes. The role of a farmer is to grow the food to feed the world. The role of the food industry is to bring this food to the consumer. Coming shortly after the interpack show, I guess packaging was foremost in my mind. I also recalled the words of Robert van Otterdijk of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization: “Most food losses occur at production level, as a result of underdeveloped production, conservation and packaging, as well as inadequate storage, transport and infrastructural facilities.”
Packaging has several functions. I guess the first and main role of a package is to protect its contents. A package should attract consumers, to help them choose this item out of several other similar ones. The outside of a package is a source of information, often very detailed, which makes it easier to make purchase decisions.
The package has to protect, attract and inform – but still the contents are more important.
Packaging waste goes beyond sustainability as being the hottest trend at the moment. It is often inadequate packaging that causes food and drink to spoil before they reach the consumer. It is true, even today, that there is enough food in the world to feed the population. Unfortunately, large amounts (over 60%!) are wasted due to poor packaging and transportation
One of the calls behind sustainability is to use as little packaging as possible. I would argue that it is more sustainable to use as much packaging as necessary. Well-packaged goods are safer, more hygenic and often more practical than loose products. Better packages preserve foods longer, so they will reach hungry mouths in a suitable condition. In short, packaging has a significant role to play in preventing starvation and malnutrition.
Do you know the strange thing about all this? If we waste less food, we will save money and protect the environment. There are economic advantages since there are fewer wasted packages, sustainable advantages since resources will go further and humanitarian advantages since there will be more food to go round. That’s what I call a win-win-win situation!
Additives in US food products up 10% since 2001
18 Jul 2023
New research revealed that 60% of foods purchased by Americans contained technical food additives as of 2019, which was a 10% increase since 2001.Read more
Industry first: The Netherlands approves cultivated meat and seafood tastings
17 Jul 2023
The Netherlands has become the first country in Europe to approve tastings of cultivated meat and seafood in controlled environments, yet there is still a long way to go before widescale commercialisation is achieved.Read more
One-fifth of Brazilian whey protein products mislabelled
12 Jul 2023
One fifth of whey protein products sold in Brazil are mislabelled, according to one small survey, as the Latin American trade association ALANUR calls on authorities to act against brands that inappropriately advertise the nutritional attributes of the...Read more
New Nordic nutrition guidelines emphasise plant-based eating
11 Jul 2023
Nordic scientists and experts are now recommending that people should consume less meat and more plants for both their health and the health of the planet.Read more
Manufacturers await groundbreaking aspartame safety review
10 Jul 2023
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is preparing to release its findings on whether the sweetener aspartame is a possible carcinogen.Read more
Food sector pushes unhealthy choices on consumers, new report shows
7 Jul 2023
Regulators and retailers must take action to prevent European consumers from being led to make unhealthy food choices, experts say.Read more
How to revive stagnating plant-based meat sales
6 Jul 2023
Sales of plant-based meat are stagnating, products are being withdrawn, and brands are declaring bankruptcy – but Rabobank’s RaboResearch has identified five strategies that could help revive the category, and precision fermentation could be an NPD gam...Read more
UK consumer trust in supermarkets falls to nine-year-low
5 Jul 2023
Research by UK consumer review organisation, Which?, reports decreasing levels of trust in the food industry, with two-thirds of shoppers feeling ripped off.Read more
UK retailers flout unhealthy product regulation
4 Jul 2023
UK retailers are continuing to promote unhealthy products that are high in fat, salt, and sugar (HFSS) despite recent regulation that bans such practices.Read more
Are Dutch supermarkets committed to human rights?
3 Jul 2023
Dutch supermarkets lack widespread measures to respect human rights in supply chains, research project Superlist Social's inaugural report finds.Read more