Packaging keeping food fresher for longer

A major study into food waste has revealed that consumer don’t understand the role of packaging in keeping food fresh and reducing waste.

The study ‘Consumer attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging’ highlights the ongoing disconnect between the reality of what packaging does to protect food and public perceptions of it.

Conducted on behalf of an unprecedented cross-industry partnership that included WRAP, packaging groups, retailers and others, the study discovered that despite continued packaging innovation to extend in-home life, through the use of intelligent materials, vacuum-packing and more recloseable packs, most consumers still believe that keeping food in packaging at home leads to it spoiling more quickly.

Only one in five people realise that packaging can extend the life of the product that it contains. All this is despite the fact that 60% of household food waste – which, in total, is estimated to be worth around £6.7bn every year – arises because food goes off before it is eaten.
As a result the group behind the research is backing a new initiative from Love Food Hate Waste, ‘Fresher for Longer’ which shows the important relationship that packaging can play to help reduce food waste.

The research also shows that consumers feel confident about how they store food. However only 22% currently look at storage guidance on the pack which would maximise life in the home, and many are in reality storing foods in less than ideal conditions. Bread is a great example, with many storing bread in the fridge, even though it goes stale six times faster, similarly by storing apples in the fridge in their original packaging they can stay fresher for up to two weeks longer.

The ‘Fresher for longer’ initiative launched with exclusive retail partner Marks and Spencer at the Tunbridge Wells store with the support of Kent Waste Partnership. The creative campaign shows that apples should ‘keep their pack on’ and pears hold onto theirs ’till lunch do us part’ demonstrating that packaging not only keeps it fresher for longer, but also protects food in the home. The ‘Fresher for Longer’ campaign materials can be used by all retailers, brands and councils.

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