Leading international fresh food packaging manufacturer LINPAC welcomes the launch of an inquiry into the economic, environmental and social impact of food waste by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee.
The idea of challenging the status quo on this subject is not new to LINPAC, but it’s something that is wholeheartedly supported by the Group through their continued focus on development of innovative fresh food-packaging solutions that keep foods fresher for longer.
Helene Roberts, director of marketing and innovation at LINPAC, said: "One of the most effective ways to reduce food waste is to improve packaging. LINPAC has certainly explored this to maximum effect, launching products that are smarter, lighter in weight and more sustainable year on year.
"Food packaging should be seen as a green technology", adds Dr Roberts. "It not only extends the shelf life of food products, but also addresses waste-related portion control issues by allowing consumers to visibly see the contents and make an informed choice about the product contained within."
Packaging offers a very tangible solution to the amount of food waste, but has often been overlooked because of misconceptions about its impact on the environment that have become so ingrained in society.
However, Dr Roberts states: "I believe packaging is one of the most effective technologies invented, due to its protective and preserving qualities. For food and drink products, shelf life is a requirement to create low wastage rates between the packer filler and consumer. In the context of overall sustainability, it is evident that, contrary to popular misconception, packaging should be regarded as part of the solution, not part of the problem."
As part of the inquiry, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will examine the impact of initiatives aimed at reducing food waste or if legislation is required. It will also look at effective measures set by retailers, the hospitality sector, local councils and consumers.
The committee also stated that 85% of food waste comes from homes, with the average family spending £700 a year on food that is not consumed.
Whilst food waste remains such a major problem, it is essential for all the links in the food supply chain to play their part in solving the problem. LINPAC is acutely aware of its role in helping packers, retailers and consumers minimise food waste.
A new tray design recently developed by the company, in partnership with Tesco and Cargill, is a ‘split pack’ for poultry that addresses portion control and food waste concerns. The perforated tray is designed for two chicken breast fillets that can be split into two individually sealed compartments. This will enable consumers to ‘eat one and keep one’ helping them to reduce food waste at home.
The positive effect of adopting compartmental packaging solutions could be far reaching. According to WRAP, the UK wastes 110,000t of avoidable poultry meat each year. If similar split packs were adopted across the market, WRAP estimates that up to 10,000t of food waste could be prevented.
Helene Roberts continues: "At LINPAC, we recognise our role in helping retailers deliver safer food products and support them to minimise waste by designing new safer, innovative packaging solutions. Food waste and sustainable packaging is very much at the top of our agenda. We welcome this inquiry into how the industry as a whole can reduce food waste further, whilst recognising the important role packaging plays in food waste reduction."