Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
New Brochure Explains Packaging’s Role in Reducing Food Waste

The American Institute for Packaging and the Environment (AMERIPEN) has published a new brochure called Reducing Fresh Food Waste: The Role of Packaging.

The free brochure explains that Americans throw away 36 million tons of food each year, worth $162 billion, and says that “one factor accounts for about two-thirds of the problem: spoilage from not being used on time.”

It says that better packaging can help alleviate spoilage and other forms of waste and lists all the benefits it offers:

  • Maintains freshness, nutritional value and safety
  • Provides critical storage and usage information
  • Delivers portion control: The brochure says that the 33 percent of food waste not due to spoilage is due to cooking or serving more than can be eaten during a meal.
  • Pre-cut and washed foods are a hidden waste reducer: The brochure claims that the inedible parts are ground into animal feed, converted into energy, etc, thereby reducing waste. This is of course true only when the 'waste' is thus used.

In a similar move in the UK last year, Love Food, Hate Waste launched its 'Fresher for Longer' campaign, which highlights the importance of packaging in reducing food waste, after a WRAP report found that UK consumers’ attitudes and behaviors surrounding food packaging could help reduce household food waste.

In the US, a Sealed Air study published last monthfound that American consumers are more concerned with food waste than other issues such as air pollution (59 percent), water shortages (57 percent), climate change (53 percent) and genetically modified foods (52 percent). The study found that American grocery shoppers:

  • associate food packaging more with safety than waste;
  • see discarded packaging as worse for the environment than food waste and food that has minimal or no packaging being more environmentally friendly; and
  • will often behave contrary to their beliefs (in the last six months, 40 percent have removed original packaging on store-bought foods and repackaged it).
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