With changing government regulations and increasing demand, it’s no surprise that grocers and consumers alike are making sustainability a key priority. One survey found that 72% of consumers prefer to shop at food retailers they know have sustainable or ethical practices.
While much of the focus has been on single use packaging, that’s just the beginning. Reducing food waste and lowering emissions also has a significant impact:
Sustainable Substrates 101
Choosing sustainable packaging and reducing plastic waste go hand in hand. When looking for packaging alternatives, it’s important to consider both the manufacturing and end-of-life management of the product.
Sourcing products made from natural materials including bamboo, birch, sugarcane (bagasse) and other molded fibers can help grocers shift from plastic packaging to recyclable and/or compostable alternatives. When choosing these materials is not possible, prioritizing products that are made from recycled material can also help to reduce your carbon footprint. Keep your eye out for our new Sustainability Playbook being released later this month. Updated for 2022, it will provide more information on the newest substrates and their best use cases.
Driving Down Food Waste
Did you know that carbon emissions from food waste in landfills is greater than plastic food packaging’s environmental footprint? One way to reduce food waste is to clearly display discounted foods that are close to their expiration dates. One grocer is on track to reduce food waste by 50% by 2025 since they started flagging items close to their best-before date and showcasing them as flash-sale items, highlighting how making discounted foods easy for shoppers to locate increases their sales.
Another way to divert food from landfills and support the community is to re-distribute excess food. Donating to food banks and taking advantage of discounted food waste apps, like Flashfood, is increasingly common as businesses become more aware of the environmental impact of food waste.
Making meaningful changes to emissions begins in the supply chain. A non-profit CDP found that 90% of all disclosed emissions in the food sector come from supply chains, rather than stores and distribution centres. Working with suppliers to understand their sustainable practices and processes enables more sustainable sourcing decisions. Effectively communicating those choices and other practices that help to reduce environmental impact will position sustainability leaders at the forefront of the industry.
Looking to evaluate your current plastic packaging and select environmentally preferable alternatives? Our category experts can audit your current packaging assortment and recommend the solutions that prioritize fit and purpose. Get started designing your customized program – talk to us today.