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Reducing Food Wastage through Packaging in the Logistics Industry

by ClickGreen staff. Published Mon 02 Nov 2015 15:11, last updated: 02/11/15

In most British households every meal is accompanied by some level of wastage. Although the exact figures for retail food wastage are debated, it is estimated that upward of 2% of the total food wastage takes place in the retail sector. With the Huffington Post stating that roughly 50% of food waste in the UK can be attributed to the retail sector.

WRAP figures show that of the 41 million tonnes of food imported into the UK, 15 million of that food was wasted in 2013. Government policies have taken huge steps towards changing the way supermarkets deal with their food disposal, putting strict guidelines in place to prevent food suitable for human consumption to be thrown out.

Supermarkets are being forced to be aware of their sustainability efforts from a retail perspective. Leading by example, they are the major stakeholders in the food industry. However, there is still much to be discussed in the way of food wastage at supply chain levels.

The food logistics industry sees a large amount of food not making it to grocery shelves due to bruising in transit or cosmetic malformations. Moreover, all retailers have to either accept a whole pallet or box of produce or nothing at all. Thus, if one parsnip is bruised or not as straight as they would prefer then the whole pallet is not accepted. Leaving a whole pallet of food not even making it into the stores and being thrown out.

With the estimated 2% of total UK food wastage falling in the laps of retailers, it has to be asked – how important is the prevention of food wastage in the food supply chain? Retailers are major stakeholders in the food industry, a lot of what they do leads the way consumers think about food production and consumption. Believe it or not, many people don’t realise just how much goes on between harvestation and the food appearing on the shelves.

By food retailers making a concerted effort to reduce food wastage, behavioural patterns can be mimicked further down the consumption chain and an overall perception of the value of food can change positively.

Almost all UK food retailers realise that the only way to ensure longevity is through sustainable practises. PPS, a leader in returnable transit packaging, has been at the heart of the sustainable issue for many years. Primarily serving the food logistics industry, PPS has seen the benefits of turning to greener packaging and logistic equipment.

For many retailers the notion of resource efficiency is not a new one. The usage of returnable transit packaging is on the rise, being favoured over one trip packaging such as cardboard and polystyrene. RTP packaging allows for the reduction in supply chain energy and carbon usage, with crate washing as a part of a close loop cycle being an easy way to reuse packaging lengthening its life cycle.

Although using RTP packaging can reduce carbon emissions by up to 89% in the switch from polystyrene as well as reduce energy usage, food wastage negates the efforts made by switching packaging types.

The production of food uses a large amount of resources and energy. When this food is wasted, the sustainability and resources efficiency of the food retail industry takes a hit.

RTP packaging needs to be not only be sustainable but also protect its contents. The next step in sustainability is crates that are stackable, protectively designed and allow for the safe transportation of food. In an effort to move in the direction of sustainable packaging as well as sustainable food transportation, PPS have been working on crates such as the Refresh Fish Boxes, designed for stacking and the protection of fish in transit.



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