Food wastage needs proper management

Active food packaging can reduce food waste

Active food packaging can help to avoid food wastage and improve food safety. Photo credit: Sophia Marston on Unsplash
Active food packaging can help to avoid food wastage and improve food safety. Photo credit: Sophia Marston on Unsplash

Active packaging technologies are the best preventive measures to reduce food waste. But many of these never reach the common public. The communication director at AIPIA, Andrew Manly, gives his opinions about innovations in this field. And, it is said that there is a global 30% food wastage as it never gets eaten.

Food wastage in several places is due to different reasons. In Europe and North America, food wastage happens in the warehouse and logistics part, at the retailer end. Many active packaging methods are available to limit bacterial growth, delay ripening or take the oxygen out of the pack, and increase the life of proteins and new production. If these solutions have been used in the markets, we are yet to see their influence in daily life.

There is plenty of work involved in the development of active or Flexi packaging to limit the growth of microbial or bacterial growth. The AIPIA newsletter has been published regularly with reports on the various research and development activities at the technical universities that are giving results.

Solutions to control food wastage

Companies are trying to maintain their focus on nanotechnology with the fibers obtained from the durian fruit skins to produce a natural compostable, edible, and biodegradable material. However, they are not used at large by people.

These products are not commercially viable, which can be seen in the results of AIPIA’s involvement with the NanoPack project. This three-year project produced an antimicrobial film from essential oils like oregano and a few halloysite nanotubes. The initial film limited the mold growth in bread within three weeks, increased the sales of fresh cherries by 13%, and expanded the shell life of yellow cheese by more than four days.

Other options for active food packaging

The antimicrobial film requires approval from the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA), and since this process takes a long time, such solutions get lost. Currently, there are few established inhibitors in the market, like silver. Silver nitrate is an antimicrobial agent, but the metal used in food packaging makes it hard to recycle. Thankfully, there’s an alternative – graphene.

Graphene has good antimicrobial properties and can be reused but is expensive, like silver. There are more environment-friendly and less costly options available for active food packaging. They are methods like nitrogen removed from products to keep them clean and usable for a long time. Such methods are being widely used as they are cost-effective.

Customers’ opinions about alternate packaging solutions

Now, the question is – Are the eco-friendly options being used by the food producers in packaging? Consumers do not like any external additions to their food, but with NanoPack, which would save food and protect them from harmful materials, they were okay with it.

Food wastage costs more water, energy, and the fuel used in transport, and producing food packaging to reduce the amount of food is better for the future.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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