Consumer attitudes to food waste and packaging have been the focus of a report released in March this year by WRAP UK*.  The research which canvassed the opinions of more than 4000 consumers clearly shows that food purchasers don’t understand the role that packaging can play in helping to reduce food wastage – particularly once the food is tucked away in the fridge and pantry.

Packaging innovation has continued to extend shelf life – regardless of whether the food is in-store or at home – but only 13% of consumers realise that packaging extends shelf-life in the home – most packaging ends up in the bin as soon as it hits the kitchen bench.

The message that intelligent materials, vacuum-packing and recloseable packs lengthen shelf-life outside of the store is simply not getting through.  Most consumers still believe that keeping fresh food in packaging leads to ‘sweating’ and spoiling more quickly.

The WRAP report shows that although consumers are confident about the way they store food, many of their assumptions are faulty.  Only 22% look for guidance on the pack.  If you take bread as an example, many consumers store loaves in the fridge without realising that this makes it goes stale six times faster.  Apples stored in their original packaging in the fridge can stay fresher for up to two weeks longer.

The report also suggests that food retailers, manufactures and their trade associations should raise consumer awareness around packaging, food labeling and design innovations.  Not surprisingly the research found that, after price and freshness and shelf life is the most important factor for consumers.

Cas-Pak specialises in the supply of medium or high barrier flexible packaging which acts to extend shelf life on dry, wet and fresh foods.  We understand that while promoting consumer awareness is desirable, it can present manufacturers with a technical challenge.  There is often not enough space on the packet to print storage guidelines in additional to the compulsory label information.  However the box pouch is a recent innovation that may offer a solution.  The additional printable faces on the box pouch can easily carry this type of consumer information.

We have received a lot of favorable feedback on the box pouch from supermarkets and manufacturers:  its flat-bottom enables it to sit well on the shelf, has more printable faces for on-shelf impact and packs well for export.   The box pouch also offers an environmentally friendly alternative to bag-in-carton – going from double to single layer of packaging makes it better for the planet and manufacturers’ bottom lines.  Top and front (pocket) zip-locks can also be added to the box pouch to enable the pack to be resealed. The pocket zip allows the gussets to be fully opened, speeding up the filling process and avoiding contamination within the zipper. The box pouch provides consumers with a user-friendly alternative to more traditional bag-in-carton packaging.

Click here to find out more about the box pouch

*WRAP UK is a not-for-profit company backed by government funding from Defra (the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, and the European Union. WRAP UK’s mission is to support waste reduction and recycle.