Thanksgiving is one of the most food-centric holidays of the year, with families gathering around the table to express gratitude and share in a bountiful meal together. What makes Thanksgiving so special is the familial traditions, whether that be deep frying the turkey, toasting marshmallows on top of the sweet potato casserole, or debating the age-old question: canned or fresh cranberry sauce. Whatever your customs entail, it is important to remain conscious of the waste these feasts can generate.
Food waste is a major challenge in the United States where about one-third of all food produced is disposed of before it is consumed, resulting in 1.3 billion tons of food thrown out annually. Oftentimes, Thanksgiving hosts will fear that there won’t be enough food and tend to overcompensate, thus resulting in mass quantities of food that goes uneaten. Fortunately, Thanksgiving leftovers can be saved in food storage containers, but it is important to look at additional ways we can make the most of our Thanksgiving food products.
Turkeys are traditionally wrapped in flexible packaging to accommodate their shape and maintain ideal freshness. Sealed Air Corporation’s Cryovac was the inventor and leading supplier of the modern vacuum bag for fresh and frozen turkeys. By encasing the turkey in flexible packaging, we are able to decrease the raw materials, water, and energy used to produce the package, while simultaneously saving more space in our fridges for all the side dishes!
Many stuffing mixes come in flexible packaging which is fantastic for the same reasons as mentioned above. Further options include stand-up pouches that offer even more benefits to the conscientious consumer. They are durable enough to be puncture resistant, protect the product from external elements, and guard against spoilage thereby extending the product’s shelf life. Stand-up stuffing mix pouches also have the feature of being resealable, with tear notches and zip lock closures, making them convenient to open and easy to close. Not only does this eliminate any spoilage and guarantee fresh stuffing for next time, but it also gives those cooking the option to use only what they need.
A wide variety of potatoes can be found in flexible packaging, however, some companies are going above and beyond by using sustainable, new packaging alternatives including Wada Farms. The innovative packaging uses a bag made partially from potato starch for its Idaho Potatoes that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, the use of petroleum-based plastics, and excess film gauge. Today, the potato starch-based “Tater Made” bag can be found in Walmart as well as in other retailers in Idaho and Colorado.
While baking your own pie may be a holiday routine to some, it may also seem like a daunting task to others. Nevertheless, online resources have made baking your own festive pies much more approachable, and having the right ingredients is the first step. Refrigerated pie crusts are available in flexible packaging that preserves freshness so that no one will ever know that it isn’t made from scratch. Pie fillings are also available in flexible packaging, although they may be slightly trickier to find. For some, it may be worth the hunt because of the added convenience since these tubes can easily be used and then put right back in the fridge to save for another day.
Stocking your fridge and pantry with holiday foods packaged in flexible packaging is well worth the effort to preserve your purchases and eliminate food waste. Moreover, it’s much easier than you would think. Flexible packaging is becoming more widely available for all types of food products you find in grocery stores. Being able to save space, extend shelf life, and often recycle the packaging makes the choice clear, flexible packaging is the way to go this Thanksgiving!