From takeaway vendors to supermarket stalls, food and drinks products often come pre-packaged for our convenience.
It’s not uncommon to encounter environmentally harmful packaging that clings to all kinds of fruit, vegetables, sandwiches, snacks and salads. The “lunch on the go” economy alone accounts for 11 billion items of packaging waste a year, most of which aren’t recycled or recyclable.
With such shocking waste statistics, you’re probably asking yourself, “why do we need food packaging?”, but there are few important reasons why the packaging for consumables remains essential for the food and drinks industry. Plus, with more eco-friendly packaging options available than ever before, we can start to reduce the debt we owe to the planet for putting up with our throw-away culture.
Why Do We Need Food Packaging?
It’s crucial to understand why we need food packaging to justify its usage across such a range of sectors. From global exporters to your local takeaway, food packaging provides:
- Protection from the Elements
Your food and drinks products frequently travel thousands of miles before they safely reach their destination. Whether it’s apples from America or lettuce from Spain, produce that could easily be damaged need to be protected during transit.
Nearly half of the food we consume in the UK is imported, which means large amounts of packaging are required to ensure that the produce doesn’t spoil before it arrives in supermarkets, shops and grocery stores. It’s a complex logistical process that requires a lot of effort and resources to maintain, so high-quality packaging materials are essential.
- Hygiene Safety
COVID-19 has provided continual challenges for the packaging industry, increasing the importance of effective packaging solutions that keep people safe by reducing the likelihood of viruses spreading.
Consumers view packaging as a necessity, with paper packaging being viewed as the safest to use by consumers, mainly because it can easily be disposed of and is generally intended for a limited number of uses. Once the packaging has served its purpose, it causes much less environmental harm when it needs to be thrown away due to its natural biodegradable properties.
- Information and Advice to Customers
Food packaging for takeaways is especially important as it gives food vendors an effective way to tell customers what ingredients their products contain. Without the appropriate packaging, consumers wouldn’t be able to find out if the food they’re eating could cause an allergic reaction, which — in some rare cases — can be fatal.
It’s also an opportunity to encourage consumers to recycle or responsibly dispose of their packaging. Various packaging symbols are often used to help consumers decipher what can and can’t be recycled, while the highly recognisable Tidyman logo has been used to discourage littering for decades.
- An Enhanced Aesthetic
Custom packaging designs are essential to businesses across the food and drinks industries. Vibrant artwork, catchy slogans and bespoke packaging all play a vital role in driving sales, increasing brand recognition and ultimately determining the success of businesses in a competitive marketplace. Bespoke designs also benefit the consumer, making for a more enjoyable drinking and dining experience.
Not only does sustainable packaging protect the environment, but it also helps to stop foods from spoiling, reducing waste as a result. It’s estimated that over 9.5 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK, so we must conserve as much food as possible to reduce excess food wastage.
It’s also been studied that concerns regarding sustainability have increased amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, with non-recyclable packaging being regarded of the highest importance. At a time where single-use products are seeing more use than ever before, consumers have become increasingly aware of the negative impact these items have on the planet.
Is Food Packaging Essential?
Food packaging serves several purposes, from protecting produce and keeping it fresh to helping customers take note of a product’s ingredients. Since food packaging is here to stay, so our attention is turned to reducing the amount of single-use, environmentally harmful packaging.
With more supermarkets catching on to consumer trends and making efforts to reduce plastic waste, we’re heading towards a greener future, but it’s up to all kinds of businesses to reduce their effects on the environment. As we’ve discussed, takeaway packaging is a crucial area that accounts for a large percentage of the non-biodegradable waste created, so now is the perfect time to switch to more eco-friendly packaging alternatives.
Interested in protecting the planet with your takeaways? Discover our range of eco-friendly takeaway packaging, and start shrinking your carbon footprint today. If you’re after something extra special, why not check out our custom packaging, perfect for all kinds of cuisine.