Reduce Food Waste in Your Establishment With Flexible Packaging

08 September 2021

Being environmentally conscious is something most people consider as they go about their lives and purchase products. Unfortunately, food waste is a huge contributor to environmental degradation. And, what food products are packaged in can determine whether they contribute to food waste. However, there are now environmentally friendly packaging options for you to choose from, including flexible packaging. 

What Is Flexible Packaging?

The way that humans use packaging has a far more robust history than you might think. From paper products to plastic, there are many possibilities to choose from.

Flexible packaging is simply protective packaging that is non-rigid in nature. This typically looks like bags and pouches. For example, instead of a plastic jar of applesauce, you can purchase a squeezable pouch of applesauce. 

While you most often think of flexible packaging for food items, businesses in every industry can profit from switching to flexible packaging, including:

  • Food
  • Health and beauty
  • Coffee and tea
  • Granola and cereals
  • Sports and fitness
  • Organics and supplements
  • Household products
  • Pet food
  • Sweets and snacks 

With all of the different options you have to package your product, you may be wondering why you should choose flexible packaging. There are countless benefits to picking flexible packaging, but one of the most important is how much it can reduce food waste. 

How Flexible Packaging Reduces Food Waste

Food waste is any kind of food that is not eaten and thrown away. Food waste happens in all facets of the food system, from production and distribution to retail and consumption. Unfortunately, it is estimated by the FDA that between thirty and forty percent of food produced in the United States ends up as waste. 

Food waste presents a larger issue because of the environmental factors that go into making food. It takes natural resources to produce food, which must then be packaged and transported. Unfortunately, every step of the process adds to greenhouse gas emissions. However, every effort to reduce food waste helps to reduce these emissions and combat climate change.

In our busy world, people cannot slow down to prepare and eat every meal of the day at home. Instead, we often turn to ready-to-eat food in packaging. And, when we do buy groceries, a vast majority of what is purchased comes in packages. With such a prevalence on food packaging, companies need to choose packaging options that not only work best for them but work best for customers and the earth.

So how can your company help be a part of the solution? By making environmentally friendly decisions that help reduce food waste, like switching to flexible packaging.

1. Extended Shelf Life

Altering the life of food products on shelves reduces waste because it decreases the chances of your products having to be thrown away when they are not bought within the designated time period. Unfortunately, one of the leading sources of food waste is expired products. The longer an item can be on the shelf, the more likely it is to be bought before expiring.

A great way to extend the shelf life of your food product is to use flexible packaging. Food in flexible packaging lasts longer both before and after being opened. Because the packaging tends to be opaque, its contents are protected from outside environmental factors. Flexible packaging food is not affected by light, moisture, or temperature, which helps extend shelf life. 

Flexible packaging also offers the option of being resealable. With a zipper, customers can use the packaging past the first opening. This is particularly appealing to food products that are built for on-the-go use. 

2. Safer Food Products 

A big concern for both you and consumers is making sure that food is safe to eat. The last thing anyone wants is a recall over safety concerns, and unfortunately, packaging plays a role in this. And, while vitally necessary, food recalls contribute considerable amounts to food waste. 

Liquid-based food products can leach chemicals from a package depending on what they are made of. If this happens, the chances of a product making consumers sick are much higher, not to mention the damage to your credibility as a company. However, with flexible packaging, you can ease the worries of chemical filtering. The different film linings used in flexible packaging meet the strict standards of the FDA and will ensure no chemical leakage. 

Food products will naturally spoil over time because of microbiological, chemical, and physical changes, but you don’t want your product to prematurely spoil, which can happen in inadequate packaging. Flexible packaging ensures less spoilage which makes your product safer for consumption. Flexible packaging reduces spoilage for several reasons, including:

  • Tamper-resistant packaging
  • Oxygen level control
  • Resealable features

With flexible packaging, you can breathe easier knowing that your products are safe for consumers. Safer products mean fewer chances of recalls and ultimately less food waste. 

3. Single Serve vs. Bulk Packaging 

Both single-serve and bulk packaging can contribute to food waste depending on the consumer. For some people, they like to know that they always have enough of a product and buy it in bulk. However, if the product is not used quickly enough, they will have to throw away spoiled food. On the other hand, people on the go tend to prefer single-serve packaging but increases the amount of packaging, which creates more waste. 

Flexible packaging can help reduce waste in both ways and make all consumers feel better. For bulk buyers, the flexible packaging is resealable and less prone to spoiling quickly. They can have their larger quantity without being worried about throwing half of it away. For single-serve buyers, they can rest easy knowing their packaging is recyclable, resealable, and easy to store.

Flexible packaging can reduce food waste and make companies and consumers happier and guilt-free. But, there are even more reasons flexible packaging can benefit your product sales.

4. Saves Space 

Food packaging can be bulky and bigger than necessary, which just makes flexible packaging an even better option. Bags and pouches are smaller, and most often, every bit of the package is used. You can fit more into trucks, reducing the environmental impact of transportation and creating more room in people's kitchens, making products less likely to get lost in the chaos and ultimately wasted. 

5. Recyclable

People want to see products that are not bad for the earth. Flexible packaging is made with as few materials as possible and is entirely recyclable. By choosing flexible packaging, you are reducing our carbon footprint. It is a win-win for you, the earth, and the consumer. 

Ready to Reduce Food Waste? Let The Packaging Lab Help!

Reducing food waste helps reduce our environmental impact, and an easy way to accomplish this is by switching to flexible packaging. Here at The Packaging Lab, we can help you make the switch to flexible packaging. With over forty years in the packaging industry, we can help you create the perfect custom packaging. Getting your products into the hands of consumers with the knowledge that you are part of the solution.