Most consumers still believe that keeping food in packaging at home leads to it spoiling quicker, despite continued innovation in packaging which can extend shelf life by an extra two weeks, says a new report by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
The report, ‘Consumer Attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging,’ has been developed in partnership with INCPEN, The Packaging Federation, Food and Drink Federation (FDF), Kent Waste Partnership and British Retail Consortium (BRC).
WRAP’s research emphasises that consumers do not realise the key role played by packaging to reduce food waste, particularly once they get products home.
It is still not known to several consumers that the usage of intelligent materials, vacuum-packing and more recloseable packs would extend in-home life for food packaging.
In order to create awareness among consumers, the group is backing a new initiative from Love Food Hate Waste, ‘Fresher for Longer,’ launched with retail partner Marks and Spencer (M&S) at Tunbridge Wells store with the support of Kent Waste Partnership.
The campaign shows that apples should ‘keep their pack on’ and ‘pears hold onto theirs till lunch do us part,’ explaining that packaging keeps it fresher for longer, while protecting food in the home.
M&S head of Plan A Delivery Adam Elman said the company worked to make it for its customers to live sustainably, by minimising the amount of packaging used and ensuring that it is easily recyclable.
"Packaging plays an important role in protecting the quality and freshness of our food, which is why we feature on-pack storage advice and continue to introduce innovative packaging that keeps food fresher for longer," Elman said.
Only 22% look at storage guidance on pack at present, which would maximise life in the home, while many are storing foods in less than ideal conditions, WRAP noted.
WRAP advised food retailers, manufactures and their trade associations to promote awareness among consumers about the existing innovations in packaging, food labelling, and design that were implemented in the last few years.
The research noted that factors such as freshness and how long food lasts play a key role in consumer psyche, besides the price.
Image: A new report from WRAP indicates that consumers aren’t aware of innovations in pacakging that keep food fresher for longer. Photo: Courtesy of Dino Quinzani