Many consumers are placing a growing emphasis on sustainable sourcing of food products, but green packaging is gaining popularity, according to Forbes. Tuna, which was once controversial seafood, is currently coming under fire because of the cans. Metal cans take up more raw materials than plastic pouches, so to reduce manufacturing costs and improve sustainability, some seafood producers are making the switch.
Popcorn bags are changing to be more eco-friendly as well, Forbes reported. Most microwave popcorn bags contain a substance the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers a toxin. Some bags may contain Teflon, and many types of popcorn have artificial butter substitutes. A new company, Quinn Popcorn emerged with a toxin-free microwave bag that is also compostable.
While some improvements to sustainability can be made through food containers, manufacturers have to ensure packaging does not negatively impact shelf life of a product, Plastics Today stated. Packaging can reduce waste and cut raw material consumption, but research and design costs can often be high for marginal benefits. Green logistics has to work to fill some of the gap and improve food sustainability.
Retailers that are concerned with sustainability have the additional challenge of shipping perishable items outside of local markets without compromising their green values, according to Forbes. Thermopod came up with a solution by creating biodegradable, temperature-controlled packaging from recycled textile fibers. The company offers shipping crates and envelopes of multiple sizes to sustainably ship various kinds of food.
Food producers are placing emphasis on reducing the amount of material they use in packaging without affecting shelf life, and this will depend on integrated designs and realistic goals, Food Manufacturing said. Companies need to analyze performance requirements to improve shelf life and sustainability at the same time.