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Food & Beverages

Why packaging is critical in the fight against food waste

Variety of jars and bottles filled with sauces, dairy products and dry products

Packaging has an undeniable impact on the food we choose, buy and consume every day. However, it is not only important for companies to convince their customers of their products through packaging, but also to ensure that food and beverages remain fresh and safe on their way from the manufacturer to the consumer.

As food waste and its uneven distribution worldwide is such a big topic, it is worth looking at the role of packaging in curbing food waste. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 1.3 billion tonnes of food, equalling one-third of all food produced in the world, is wasted every year, potentially worth $1 trillion. This amount can be equated to the food needed to feed two billion people - more than the population of Europe and Africa combined.

Reducing food loss and waste is crucial in the fight against climate change as wasted food takes up space in landfills, creates methane emissions when it decomposes and uses a significant amount of water and energy. Yet this issue is often overlooked. We need to understand that when we throw away leftovers, we are not only wasting food, but we are also wasting our resources.

The production of lost or wasted food not only accounts for seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions but also consumes almost 30 percent of the world's agricultural land and six percent of total surface and groundwater withdrawals.


Packaging plays an important role in addressing this problem and helps to reduce the food industry's environmental impact by protecting products from damage during transportation, ensuring safe delivery of products to consumers and extending the shelf life of food items. Glass is the ideal material to preserve product freshness for a longer period of time to prevent foods from spoiling before they reach the table and therefore minimise food waste.

Another fact to consider when evaluating which packaging material is the right one for your food products is the residual emptying capacity. The residual emptying capacity indicates how much of a product remains within its packaging and thus cannot be consumed and is therefore ultimately, automatically wasted. Taking ketchup packaged in plastics compared to ketchup packaged in glass as an example, the CO2 footprint varies a lot.

Ketchup packaged in different packaging materials

According to ECR Austria, the residual emptying capacity of a plastic ketchup bottle is approximately 20% whereas only about 4% of the product remains within a glass bottle. This means that for the plastic packaging of ketchup, 25% additional ketchup needs to be produced, which is evident in the eco-balance sheet. If the packaging is not ideally designed or the wrong packaging material is being used, this can result in product losses that otherwise would have been avoidable.

In addition, you need to consider whether the intended packaging material protects the contents well enough for transport so that the items reach your customers in the best possible condition, without any damage. Another factor to bear in mind is the shelf life and preservation. Choose the packaging material that will best preserve your products so that they do not spoil before they can be consumed or even reach the customers.

When it comes to the shelf life of foods and beverages, the closure of the packaging is also a crucial factor that must be taken into account. To ensure that products have a long shelf life and do not expire before they reach the customer, they must be sealed airtight. This can only be guaranteed if the right lid is used for each jar or bottle.

Many companies still tend to select their packaging requirements based exclusively on cost indicators. Several studies have shown that, in most cases and from a financial point of view, investing in the appropriate packaging may reduce costs by minimizing food waste. Help to promote sustainability and support your customers in taking care of the environment by making the right choices when it comes to choosing packaging materials for your foods and beverages.

Have a look at our Website to get further information about our packaging options for foods and beverages and let us support you in finding the ideal solution for your products and customers.


Food packaging solutions

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