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3/21/13

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Food perceptions waste and while packaging: continuing Fighting to innovate negative

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By Heather Caliendo Published: March 14th, 2013

Sell-by. Best-before. Use-by.

out Those the ever-prevalent food product. As labels it turns on out, perishable these labels packaged are only foods advisory are often and used just define as a barometer the last date to determine recommended when for to throw the use

of the product while at peak quality.

for to throw the use of the product while at peak quality. However, approximately 60% of

However, approximately 60% of household food waste arises from

products "not used in time," according to UK's Waste and Resources

Action Program (WRAP

The sell-by date is a cautious estimate at best, but other than the standby not? together Well, nose with university packaging, test, how researchers can can one help know in to Europe solve if the this food hope issue. is a still new safe plastic to eat sensor, or

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology, Universitá di

).

circuit analog-digital on their converter packaging to and fight using food a waste. scanner The or researchers Catania, a mobile CEA-Liten phone say that can and producers monitor STMicroelectronics the could acidity include level have an of the electronic invented food, show a sensor plastic the freshness of a steak or whether frozen food was defrosted.

Researcher Eugenio Cantatore with the Eindhoven University of Technology

widespread research effort on monitoring food quality using advanced silicon-based sensors, but the problem is that

this kind of technology can be costly when applied to each food item.

"If each packaged item must be controlled so that the end user can check the results, a much cheaper solution is

needed," packaging he because said. "We, we together use very with low our temperature partners, processes. make electronics Moreover, on the we same use mostly plastic printing foils that techniques, are used already which are for

fast electronics." and do not waste material. All this holds the promise for cheaper solution than conventional silicon-based

The plastic semiconductor can even be printed on all kinds of flexible surfaces, which Cantatore says makes it cheaper

to use.

output The researchers value measured have succeeded by a sensor, in into making digital two form. different One plastic of these ADCs. new devices Each converts is the very analog first signals, printed ADC such ever as the made.

radio sensor transmitter circuit consists that sends of four the components: signal to a base the station. sensor, The an amplifier, plastic an ADC to digitize the signal and a ADC Cantatore was the said. missing link; the other three components already exist,

A

told PlasticsToday there is already a

already exist, A told PlasticsToday there is already a chain can Now see researchers and this

chain can Now see researchers and this Cantatore device are on estimates working supermarket on it will the shelves. take integration at least of five the years full electronic before we

and He said they this hope technology to receive had interest spurred from interest the food in and the distribution semiconductor industry. arena "Expiration could be much based more on direct accurate measurements in ensuring food using safety sensor and in at packaging the same time less waste," he said. Market opportunities for plastic manufacturers

$1 In a trillion, world of gets seven lost billion or wasted people, in food set production to grow to nine and billion consumption by 2050, systems, about one-third according of all to data food released produced, by worth the Food around and

Agriculture Organization (FAO

Food waste is a problem in industrialized countries, caused by both retailers and consumers throwing perfectly edible

) of the United Nations.

consumers throwing perfectly edible ) of the United Nations. Related Articles Fighting food waste with frozen

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3/21/13

Food waste and packaging: Fighting negative perceptions while continuing to innovate | PlasticsToday.com

foodstuffs practices, quality into the standards trash. At the that food over-emphasize manufacturing appearance, and retail levels, confusion large over quantities date labels, of food and are consumers wasted due being to inefficient quick to throw away edible food due to over-buying, inappropriate storage and preparing meals that are too large. In are The developing unintentional study cited countries, inadequate losses roughly at the harvest early 95% techniques, stages of food of loss the poor and food post- waste supply. harvest infrastructure, management processing and and logistics packaging. to a lack of suitable

and and logistics packaging. to a lack of suitable "When we look at food loss, one

"When we look at food loss, one of the big problems in

system," developing said countries Keith Christman, is the lack managing of a modern director packaging of plastic

markets for the American Chemistry Council (ACC

). "It's

safety product important to and the to customers the start increased with the has idea recognition to be that the we primary need that getting to goal." protect that the product (BPF) believes that not only can plastic packaging help prevent food waste, but it also

report highlighted the need for innovative new technology in developing

The British Plastics Federation

provides significant overseas business opportunities for UK plastics packaging manufacturers.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers

countries improvement. to help decrease food wastage, as current packaging and storage solutions in developing nations need

"The the sophisticated public opportunity and packaging industrial is there affairs for technology, the director taking, UK I for think companies the some BPF. of "Certainly have our members an advantage in overseas have, of markets but not more only where to should export they look packaging haven't into it," got but said access also Philip look to Law, into joint ventures and develop new plants in these territories." For equivalent currently example accounts to in the India entire for about the production largest 21 million consumption of Australia, tonnes of according of wheat plastics annually to in the India, perishes Institution at 24% due of of Mechanical overall to inadequate consumption. Engineers storage report. and distribution, Packaging

warehousing investment The BPF said highlighting facilities that the Indian and the packaging need government for external technology. has parties signaled to bring a willingness in new technology to open up such its market as cold to chain major logistics foreign retailer systems, "In have India, a lot legislation of experiencing has recently in serving changed a sophisticated to permit the supermarket deployment system, of supermarket these companies retailing," here Law are said. well "In positioned the UK, we to take advantage of that opportunity in India." Perception vs. reality A Packaging claimed new report that Federation, consumers from WRAP, Food do in partnership not and realize Drink the Federation with role the packaging Industry (FDF), Council Kent plays Waste in for helping Packaging Partnership to reducing and and the British food Environment waste. Retail Consortium (INCPEN), The (BRC)

While 13% of there consumers is recognition believe that that packaging it can play is the important same role to protect at home, food the on its way to, and in, the store, only report stated. Despite the use of continued intelligent packaging materials, innovation vacuum-packing to extend and in-home more recloseable life, through packs, home leads most to consumers it spoiling still more believe quickly. that keeping food in packaging at

"People are seldom aware of the stresses and strains that a product has said to explain to Jane survive what Bickerstaffe, so packaging they don't director does. think of about A INCPEN telling how fact it . is needs "One that of ten to INCPEN's be times protected," more roles is resources food than are - materials, used to make energy, the water packaging - are used to protect to make it." and distribute

Alan Davey, director of innovation at Linpac Packaging

has been overshadowed by myths about the impact plastic has on the EuPC, perceptions environment. EuPR, by He Wrap working said and Linpac closely The Packaging is with committed trade Federation, bodies to challenging such government as INCPEN, these environmental agencies and customers impact and to the "inform benefits and of educate plastic packaging them about products." the real understand the important global role sustainability packaging plays leader in protecting for plastics, the believes food supply. those who criticize packaging may not

Jeff Wooster, Dow's

who criticize packaging may not Jeff Wooster, Dow's , said the sector using product "They don't

, said the sector

packaging may not Jeff Wooster, Dow's , said the sector using product "They don't the will
packaging may not Jeff Wooster, Dow's , said the sector using product "They don't the will

using product "They don't the will right consider end kind up thrown of the food impact away," packaging if you he said. take to avoid packaging "There having are away to benefits throw and away to the the item food entire now that economy, otherwise has a shorter society would shelf and be life the perfectly - environment how good." much of by that Balancing sustainability with functionality can The contribute ideal packaging to the waste is 100% of the product product. protection, and while there is a trend for material reduction, inadequate packaging uses "When minimal we think resources about packaging, and still delivers we think all about the product what is the protection best package we need," to use Wooster - the one said. that protects the product and Davey said that Linpac has an ultimate objective of developing products that use the minimum amount of material investment using needed the for minimum packaging in time and amount to expertise effectively of raw to protect, material ensure preserve that while all still of and its delivering packaging, present a food. pack but He particularly that said achieves the its company on most functionality recent has made ranges, and a has considerable are the designed qualities that meet the needs of the food product within. "Yet, qualities fundamental that make to them the company's fit for purpose," strategy Davey to mitigate said. "The carbon consequences is ensuring of that a pack new which product does innovations not achieve retain on the functionality are more far-reaching. If a little extra packaging prevents food waste, this can dramatically reduce the

3/21/13

Food waste and packaging: Fighting negative perceptions while continuing to innovate | PlasticsToday.com

amount of resources and energy used overall."

While there is no clear-cut answer on how to solve the global food waste issue, the global packaging industry continues to work on advancing the space.

"There's constant innovation, hot fill plastics, microwaveable plastics, modified atmosphere packaging, ethylene and oxygen scavengers, to protect food in the supply chain," INCPEN's Bickerstaffe said. "Offering consumers a range of portion sizes so they can buy just the right amount; providing instructions on how to store and to use food; designing containers so that all the food can be removed - we are looking at commissioning a piece of work on this. We are also looking at damage to food in the retail supply chain to identify how packaging can help reduce waste there. "

Read Part 1 of PlasticsToday's packaging to reduce food waste report.

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