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Any assessment of food packaging's impact on the environment must consider the positive benefits of reduced food waste throughout the supply chain. Significant food wastage has been reported in many countries, ranging from 25% for food grain to 50% for fruits and vegetables. Inadequate preservation/protection, storage, and transportation have been cited as causes of food waste. Nevertheless, food container and packaging reduce total waste by extending the shelf-life of foods, thereby prolonging their usability.
You know, a package is the face of a product and often is the only product exposure consumers experience prior to purchase. Consequently, distinctive or innovative packaging can boost sales in a competitive environment. The container or package may be designed to enhance the product image or to differentiate the product from the competition. For example, larger labels may be used to accommodate recipes.
Besides, packaging also provides information to the consumer. For example, package labeling satisfies legal requirements for product identification, nutritional value, ingredient declaration, net weight, and manufacturer information.
And additionally, the package conveys important information about the product such as cooking instructions, brand identification, and pricing. All of these enhancements may impact waste disposal.
Convenience features such as ease of access, handling, and disposal, product visibility, resealability, and microwavability greatly influence package innovation. As a consequence, packaging plays a vital role in minimizing the effort necessary to prepare and serve foods.
Oven-safe trays, boil-in bags, and microwavable plastic food containers enable consumers to cook an entire meal with virtually no preparation. New closure designs supply ease of opening, resealability, and special dispensing features. For example, a cookie manufacturer recently introduced a flexible bag with a scored section that provides access to the cookies. A membrane with a peelable seal covers the opening before sale and allows reclosure after opening.
Advances in food container and packaging have facilitated the development of modern retail formats that offer consumers the convenience of 1-stop shopping and the availability of food from around the world. These convenience features add value and competitive advantages to products but may also influence the amount and type of packaging waste requiring disposal.