Fresh Packaging

The American Institute for Packaging and the Environment recently published an interesting report on the role of packaging in reducing food waste. This free, informative brochure reminds us that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), among others, says that American’s waste a lot of food. Various reports suggest that approximately 40% of food purchased, is not consumed. That works out to be about 36 million tons of food each year, worth $162 billion.

The report says that improving packaging can help alleviate spoilage, which is a key contributor to the waste problem.

Better packaging can maintain freshness, nutritional value, and safety of food. I also gives the consumer key storage and usage information. Good packaging establishes portion control which is important, according to the brochure, because about 33 percent of food waste is due not to spoilage, but to cooking or serving more than can be consumed at a single sitting. Finally, packaging pre-cut and washed foods removes inedible parts ahead of the sale, these parts can be ground into animal feed, compost, or converted into energy, repurposing and reducing overall waste.

Packaging is not necessarily something that the consumer thinks about on a daily basis, but it is nice to know that its impacts are being investigated and intelligent plans are being made based on that research.