Before the 1960s, words like "eco-friendly, sustainable, green and non-polluting" were almost non-existent. However, with the world deteriorating fast, we can only hope for a tomorrow if we adopt sustainable and eco-friendly packaging, products and methods.
The environmental awareness campaigns have reached far and wide, making consumers more conscious of sustainable food packaging than ever before. Resultantly, eco-friendly packaging in food items is no longer a choice but a standard based on which consumers make their purchasing decisions.
Therefore, like any competitive food business in the market, your first order of business should be providing your customers safe, environment-friendly and chemical-free food. The start of all this, however, entails that you learn what eco-friendly packaging is.
That's why, in this article, we aim to provide all the essential information about eco-friendly packaging and the benefits of using it in the food industry.
Defining Eco-Friendly Packaging
Eco-friendly packaging has several market names, such as environment-friendly packaging, sustainable packaging, climate-friendly packaging or green-packaging.
According to the definition, sustainable or eco-friendly packaging is the packaging that poses no harm to the individuals or their environment throughout its life cycle, is entirely made of recycled and renewable material, meets the market’s performance and cost criteria, and once deteriorated, can be recycled into useful new products.
In short, such type of packaging has an entirely closed-loop cycle.
Materials like glass, cardboard, paper and cornstarch fall in the green packaging category for obvious reasons.
Glass is infinitely recyclable, paper is both recyclable and biodegradable, un-laminated cardboard decomposes fast, and cornstarch also doesn't persist in the environment.
What is Eco-friendly “Food” Packaging?
When we talk about everyday sustainable packaging (packaging for toys, electronics, furniture), we only consider their biodegradability and compostability.
While these are essential attributes for all kinds of environment-friendly packaging, sustainable food packaging must also have the ability to keep food items safe, fresh and in top-class condition during the delivery process.
Many studies show that the carbon footprint of food packaging is relatively smaller than that of the food manufacturing and transportation process.
Therefore, with food packaging, making it fit for the environment means doing it without compromising the food quality. In fact, it involves enhancing the sustainability of the entire supply chain.
If there are frequent food spoilage, leakages and other packaging failures, the environmental impact is much more deteriorating than caused by toxic packaging materials.
So it's crucial that food businesses not only adopt packaging materials and systems that save cost, minimize waste and maximize reusability and recyclability, but also those that increase shelf-life and eliminate the manufacturing of faulty packages.
How is Sustainable Food Packaging Advantageous for Your Business?
Green packaging is our only hope towards a sustainable future. And while it’s blatantly obvious that it benefits the environment, it’s also advantageous for the businesses and companies using it. Let’s see how:
· Effective Marketing Campaign
With the entire world on the mission to phase-out single-use, persisting and toxic materials, consumer behaviour has, of course, changed accordingly.
The modern consumer is not only aware of the "go-green" campaigns but is also making conscious efforts to support them by preferring eco-friendly food packaging.
In fact, a CGS survey discovered that the second-highest reason why people come back to a brand is due to their sustainable work ethics and responsibility towards the environment. And unsurprisingly, these people are often willing to pay 67% more than first-time customers.
Thus, if a business uses technological and innovative solutions to reduce packaging waste and its hazardous impact, it can carry out a very fruitful marketing campaign. These campaigns can breed brand loyalty, boosts sales, generate new and high-quality leads and has the potential to put them on a pedestal of unbounded future success.
· Cheaper and Easier Shipment
Since reduced material consumption and compactness is a crucial part of sustainable food packaging, it leads to lower shipment costs.
These packages are lighter in weight and take up lower space. Resultantly, many more of them can fit in one vehicle and that too at a much lower price.
· Efficient Manufacturing Process
Increasing sustainability means reducing energy consumption, product waste and stoppages that can sky-rocket the production expenses.
By adopting eco-friendly packing solutions, a business can efficiently utilize its resources, leading to more economical production.
For instance, if one implements entirely automated eco-friendly food packaging systems in their companies, they can save labour costs and other related expenses (safety equipment, clothing) along with water and production materials.
Judging from that, it is obvious that reducing the ecological footprint of food packaging is not just related to the materials utilized, but also to the entire process used to manufacture the packaging material, and the one used to package the products. And using these solutions lead to benefits that are more rewarding for businesses than what comes to the eye.
· Higher Employee Retention
Increasing environmental awareness has not just changed consumer behaviour; its effects are visible in employee habits too.
Employees stay loyal to companies who are playing their part in benefitting the environment, and people are far more interested in working for such businesses.
In this way, an ethical and environment-friendly approach towards food packaging can help you retain valuable employees and hiring exceptional individuals in the future.
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