Beverage giant PepsoCo, Inc. plans to use 25% recycled content in its plastic packaging by 2025. Furthermore, it wants all its global packaging to be recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by that time.
Biodegradable food packaging design is gradually being adopted for many food applications, but not just any biodegradable packaging will be suitable for every need. Currently, there are three commonly used bio-based plastics: PLA, starch-based plastic, and cellophane. Biodegradable plastics must still ensure that a packaged product has the expected shelf life, and they must fulfill other requirements as well.
In the classic 1967 movie The Graduate, Mr. McGuire famously recommends that Benjamin Braddock, Dustin Hoffman’s character, consider the plastics industry. “There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?”
Nobody likes wasting food, but in some cases, it is all but unavoidable. Food waste is any raw or cooked food, whether solid or liquid, which is discarded, or intended or required to be discarded. It is generated throughout the processing chain, from harvest through processing, handling, storage, transport, cooking, and serving.
While much is being done in the quest for truly sustainable packaging, perhaps the most eco-friendly option being considered is edible packaging. But how close is the food packaging industry to actually producing edible packaging on a large scale? And why does it matter?
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It’s no secret in the CPG realm that packaging waste is a major concern. As brands strive to find the balance between corporate social responsibility and cost savings, choosing between non-recyclable, recyclable, and biodegradable packaging is likely to be an ongoing conversation. Sustainability author Tom Szaky highlights the increasing popularity of biodegradable options, which are typically created from “renewable raw materials,” and have the capacity to decompose into carbon dioxide, water, or other non-harmful substances.
Pangea Organics is a manufacturer of organic skincare products in Boulder, Colorado, who was an early adopter of biodegradable packaging. Inc writes the brand’s cartons are created from a mixture of recycled newspaper and seeds, designed to be dropped on the ground to germinate. Within a year of introducing their innovative packaging, Pangea’s sales “nearly quadrupled.”
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As far as consumers are concerned, green packaging isn’t a trend. It’s a necessity. Studies by Deloitte and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) indicate that consumer demand for sustainable consumer packaged goods (CPG) remains high throughout periods of economic recession. For many buyers, sustainable packaging can be a key deciding factor between two similar products. While many consumers consider sustainability heavily, it’s a driving purchase decision factor for a “significant minority” that’s growing.
CPG brands who commit to corporate sustainability and eco-friendly packaging are likely improving their chances of long-term growth. Per L.E.K. Consulting, sustainable packaging is now a $27 billion industry. While degradable, reusable, and recycled packaging are a key tool for meeting regulatory requirements and winning customers, they do not inhibit innovation in packaging design. Some of the world’s smartest brands are communicating that they care about the environment, while still delivering stunning CPG packaging. Join us as we review seven examples of effective green packaging.