If you asked consumers about their thoughts on why it’s important to prevent food waste, what do you think they would say? The money they would save? Their concern for the environment? Not wanting to feel bad about throwing food away?
The truth is, most don’t think about any of that. In fact, most aren’t thinking about the impact of food waste at all. But they do say they’d probably waste less food if overall convenience is increased. In a recent article I wrote for Packaging Digest entitled A convenient truth: When it comes to food waste, the value of packaging hits home, I discuss a series of one-on-one interviews I did with consumers who journaled their food preparation activities for a week. We covered their food purchasing, serving, storing, and consumption habits.
Almost all of them told me that they’re driven by the need to save time and still serve healthy meals to their families. They want more packaging that helps them do so. Their favorites? Resealable plastic bags. Clear containers. Portion control packaging.
So, from a food waste reduction perspective, plastic packaging has a very positive role to play. If we can help consumers by providing convenience through products that meet their daily needs, we’ll also help them to reduce their food waste, which means that both economic and environmental resources will be conserved.
If consumers are smart enough to think holistically about the value of both their food and the packaging that it comes in, shouldn’t we be smart enough to do the same?
Editors Note: Learn more about the environmental costs of packaging in the recent Trucost report, Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of Environmental Benefits, Costs, and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement,