Sustainability has become a deciding factor in consumer buying habits across all markets and industries. To satisfy that demand, the food industry is continuing to find solutions that reduce the environmental impact on the planet. Yet with all the information circulating, consumers can often find themselves asking what actions they can take to make a difference. Moreover, how does the average person live eco-consciously when so many aspects of modern life are dependent upon packaged materials?
Flexible packaging is one of the most sustainable forms of food packaging available today. Flexible packaging films allow for smarter food packaging, which can reduce energy consumption, raw material use, and CO2 emissions during the manufacture and transportation of packaging and packaged food products.
Flexible packaging also ensures food safety and food hygiene which is essential to public health efforts. Flexible packaging provides protection so if a package falls off the shelf or comes in contact with non-food products in retail stores, it is not at risk for contamination. Flexible packaging can also help prevent the spread of illnesses and or health risks from physical contaminants.
Since many consumers are living and working from home, they expect to be able to do their food shopping from home as well. Sustainable packaging formats for takeout, delivery, and e-commerce trends have been critical for the efficient delivery of food products during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly true when considering the greater number of products that can be shipped in a truck with flexible packaging versus rigid alternatives. As flexible packaging takes up much less space, you can fit more products in a trailer. This increased efficiency reduces trucks on the road, thereby reducing emissions.
The environmental and material cost of food production and food packaging increased the need for resource efficiency. Flexible packaging increases food shelf life by regulating the carbon dioxide, moisture, and oxygen penetration to retain the natural freshness of food products for a more extended period. Flexible packaging also prevents early spoilage caused by bacterial contamination to extend food’s shelf life and helps retailers sell healthy food by retaining the flavor, taste, freshness, texture, and nutrients in food products. This extends food’s shelf life and helps retailers and consumers to reduce food waste.
While it is easy for consumers to judge a package by its plastic, there are so many additional factors to consider when it comes to choosing which food package to purchase. By reducing the environmental impact of how the packaging is produced, transported, and the food is transported and preserved , flexible packaging is a credible way to make a positive impact.