New campaign urges shoppers to store food in original packaging
Shoppers are being encouraged to store food in its original packaging as a new report highlights a lack of awareness by consumers of the role that packaging plays in helping to reduce food waste.
WRAP’s Consumer Attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging report, produced in partnership with INCPEN, the Packaging Federation, the Food and Drink Federation, Kent Waste Partnership and the British Retail Consortium, found that while consumers recognise that packaging is important to protect food on its way to, and in, the store, only 13% of consumers believed that it could play the same role in the home.
The report shows that despite continued packaging innovation to extend in-home life, through the use of intelligent materials, vacuum-packing and more recloseable packs, most consumers still believe that keeping food in packaging at home leads to it spoiling more quickly. As a result the group behind the research are backing a new campaign ‘Fresher for Longer’ which shows the role that packaging can play to help reduce food waste.
The research found that while consumers feel confident about how they store food, only 22% currently look at storage guidance on pack which would maximise life in the home. In addition, many were storing foods in less than ideal conditions.
The report also urges food retailers, manufacturers and trade associations to raise awareness with consumers about innovations in packaging, food labelling, and educate them on how to keep food fresher for longer.
The research found that, after price, freshness and how long food lasts for are the most important factors for consumers. However the authors of the report claim that throwing away food as a result of it not being used in time is costing UK consumers £6.7 billion a year or £270 for the average household.
The ‘Fresher for longer’ initiative, features a package of marketing material designed to encourage consumers to follow packaging best practices, including on-product artwork, bag clips, postcards and in-store posters.
Although M&S is the first retailer to support the campaign, WRAP said the messaging material would be made freely available to other retailers, brands and local councils.
Speaking at the launch at the M&S Tunbridge Wells store, Adam Elman, head of Plan A delivery at M&S, said: “By reducing the amount of packaging we use and ensuring its easily recyclable, we’ve worked hard to make it as easy as possible for our customers to live more sustainably. 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.”
Alice Ellison of the British Retail Consortium, added: “I hope this research helps to end the demonisation of packaging. We have long said that appropriate use of packaging preserves food and reduces waste. Grocery retailers have already achieved notable reductions in food and packaging waste through working with WRAP on the Courtauld Commitment targets and the Love Food Hate Waste campaign. This report should stimulate further reductions in food waste by promoting the role that packaging plays in keeping food fresher for longer in the home.”