Reducing Food Waste - Save Food

Recent data show that about 17 per cent of total global food production may be wasted (Food Waste Index Report 2021)!
This occurs in both developing and developed economies although the reasons and location in the food chain where this waste occurs differs.

STOP Waste – SAVE Food – a guide on food packaging sustainability

Flexible Packaging Europe supported the project “STOP Waste – SAVE Food” as active partner. This data-driven research investigated how optimized packaging solutions can help to reduce food waste. It can serve as a starting point for an open and objective discussion between stakeholders throughout the whole value chain. These are some of the key findings of the study:

  • Approximately 30% of the global greenhouse gas emissions are related to food loss. Avoiding food waste can reduce our overall carbon footprint by up to 8%.
  • Due to its protective function, packaging often helps to reduce food waste. If this is the case, the environmental benefit of avoided waste is usually 5 to 10 times higher than the environmental cost of the packaging. Product protection pays off especially for food products with resource-intensive production (e.g. meat, cheese).
  • Optimised packaging provides the required product protection, uses as little material as possible and is recyclable or reusable wherever possible.
  • Sustainable packaging solutions can be slightly more expensive. However, the additional costs are often offset by reduced waste and other benefits.
  • There is no packaging material that is good or bad in itself. When choosing the material, necessary packaging functions and low environmental impacts should be harmonised.
  • ‘Design for Recycling‘ or for ‘Re-Use‘ and the use of recyclable material should lead to improved environmental effects throughout the life cycle.
  • Holistic assessments (technical – environmental – economic) help to find solutions that are actually sustainable. Typical clichés often do not correspond to the quantitative findings of the assessments.
  • Consumers should be increasingly informed about the benefits and function of packaging.
  • Portion sizes and quantities purchased should consider household size and needs. Where consumption is low, portion packs can help to reduce food waste.
  • For more details, please follow the link to access the full guide.