Minimized food waste through packaging

Karina  Kjeldgaard-Nielsen

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Minimized food waste through packaging

The packaging has four primary purposes: it must protect, streamline logistics, inform and sell. If it does not meet the first three purposes, it increases the proportion of food that must be discarded, thus contributing to the incredibly high food waste. Many consumers mistakenly believe that the smaller the packaging, the better, but it is completely wrong. When packaging is particularly visible to consumers, it is because the volume of packaging represents the bulk of household waste; But it actually accounts for only 5% when measured by weight.

80:15:5 Our experience says that from the total CO2 load from land to consumer, 80% comes from the food production, 15% from transport and distribution and only 5% directly from the packaging. From this, the logic is quite clear: it makes sense to focus on less food waste - even if the right solution may require more packaging, ultimately it can be a benefit to the environment.

The packaging section works with different strategies for packaging and reducing food waste; These are for example:
  • Optimal storage
  • Matching portion sizes
  • Flexible cooking and reheating
  • Intelligent and communicative packaging

In 2016, the Packaging Division was publishing a "Idékatalog for design of food packaging that could reduce food waste" for the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. This catalog contains many options that can be tested in the attempt to make up with the food waste.  (Danish document)
 

We are currently working with food waste in a number of development projects:

  • Kvalipak, improved quality of fresh fruit and vegetables with active packaging and improved package solutions.
  • Tempvent, development of packaging film that can compensate for the large variations in fruit and vegetable oxygen consumption under the varying storage temperatures.
  • Less food waste in the value chain, development of secondary packaging solutions that optimize visibility and product exposure, allows multiple pack sizes in the same shelf space, optimizes logistics for food manufacturers and retailers, and increases information to consumers in the store.
  • Less waste of leftover food, development and design of multifunctional storage box with functionality that ensures delicious and uniform heating in the microwave.