Page 16 - Packaging News Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 16

TECH SPEAK November-December 2018
SAVE FOOD: More packaging
Crowded house: AIP Seminar on Fighting Food Waste, Save Food and Sustainable Packaging Design.
When consumer sentiment on packaging is seen to be at its lowest ebb and readily demonised in the media,
it is refreshing to be reminded of the valuable role packaging plays in food waste reduction, writes Michael IGrima, reporting for PKN on the AIP and Packaging NZ seminar held at Foodtech Packtech in September.
T’S also important to recognise the poor paradox that “more packaging means less alone, 42 per cent of all fruit and vegetables job our industry has done in communi- food waste” – a concept that is still a strug- is lost in production, processing and pack- cating that role to consumers, councils gle for our industry to clearly communicate aging. On the commercial side (restau- and our policy makers: that in some and for consumers to grasp. rants), 60 per cent of all the food thrown out food categories, more packaging equals This concept was further validated is still edible. Sobering numbers indeed. less food waste. when considering the “Average Carbon Thankfully, this is where brands such as
This was the topic of discussion at an Footprint of a Food Product, Processing & KiwiHarvest have seen a sustainable busi- enjoyable and informative seminar held on Packaging” and noting the small propor- ness opportunity to capture and divert this
the last day of FoodTech PackTech in Auckland in September, run by the Austra- lian Institute of Packaging (AIP) and Pack- aging New Zealand and entitled “Fighting Food Waste, Save Food Packaging & Sus- tainable Packaging Design”.
This seminar was a platform to share and inform the industry of those facts and to highlight the excellent work underway by not only our professional bodies, but the driv- en entrepreneurial businesses across Austra- lia and New Zealand that use the protective power of packaging to launch sustainable so- lutions to local and global markets.
Keith Chessell, covering for Dr Karli Ver- ghese, delivered her presentation on the role packaging plays in minimising food waste. After exploring the varied function- al roles packaging plays in protecting the food product from production to consumer, Chessell challenged one of the current con- sumer misconceptions that “all plastic packaging in the produce sector is waste- ful”. Referencing research conducted by Karli Verghese, Helen Lewis, Simon Lock- rey and Helén Williams, it highlighted the
tion packaging contributes to this. In large markets such as dairy and meat, packag- ing’s environmental footprint represents only two per cent and less than one per cent respectively. Despite this small foot- print, correctly engineered packaging is often the primary component that ensures the safe delivery and maintains the high quality of the food product delivered to the consumer in the supply chain.
Continuing the topic of food waste, Debo- rah Manning, CEO of KiwiHarvest, high- lighted again the demoralising indictment on human society that one third of our global food production ends up in waste, with an incomprehensible 40 per cent of that being diverted to landfill before it even reaches the consumer. In APEC countries
Stop looking at what packaging is and start looking at what packaging does.”
high-quality food from the consumer waste chain and deliver it to New Zealand families in need. In New Zealand alone, 19.8 per cent of the population is not able to eat properly and faces an ever-growing is- sue with food security (defined as access to nutritional, culturally acceptable food).
KiwiHarvest is a business prepared to close that divide. Similar in model to Aus- tralia’s Second Bite, KiwiHarvest is doing its bit to meet the United Nations Global Sustainability Development guidelines of halving per capita global food waste at re- tail and consumer levels by 2030.
My personal takeaway from this is a hu- man one, and one beautifully captured by Manning: “We have a moral imperative that if we are wasting food that is edible and people are hungry, we should be feed- ing them this food”.
“Food waste has a value, yet it is not be- ing given a value,” Manning said.
One could argue that this misconception is also being applied to packaging at the point of disposal.
Sharon Humphreys, executive director

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