Executive Briefings

War on Waste and Packaging to Target Supermarkets, Retail

There are few issues guaranteed to make environmentalists' blood boil quite like packaging and food waste. From single bananas in plastic wrapping to giant bags of produce that spoil within days, packaging and food waste remain one of the most visible symbols of resource inefficiency and a source of deep frustration for green campaigners and mainstream shoppers alike.

Excessive levels of packaging and food waste have added up to a major economic and environmental problem: official estimates claim the UK wastes over 7 million tons of food each year, which is worth around £17bn.

However, while the food industry and supermarket sector continue to face their fair share of criticism for packaging and food waste levels, the past few years have quietly witnessed considerable progress in the retail industry's war on waste. In fact, improvements in packaging are now so advanced that industry experts reckon packaging has now been largely "optimized" and further efforts to reduce weight or cut packaging could inadvertently result in an increase in food waste. It is an assumption that is likely to be challenged by green groups, but that has not stopped it being used to underpin the next phase of the industry's efforts to tackle food waste, which aim to stabilize packaging levels while slashing food waste.

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Excessive levels of packaging and food waste have added up to a major economic and environmental problem: official estimates claim the UK wastes over 7 million tons of food each year, which is worth around £17bn.

However, while the food industry and supermarket sector continue to face their fair share of criticism for packaging and food waste levels, the past few years have quietly witnessed considerable progress in the retail industry's war on waste. In fact, improvements in packaging are now so advanced that industry experts reckon packaging has now been largely "optimized" and further efforts to reduce weight or cut packaging could inadvertently result in an increase in food waste. It is an assumption that is likely to be challenged by green groups, but that has not stopped it being used to underpin the next phase of the industry's efforts to tackle food waste, which aim to stabilize packaging levels while slashing food waste.

Read Full Article