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Eco-friendly & customisable packaging to change the face of the industry
Saturday, 30 October, 2021, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Sonali Sharma
The consumer preferences have shifted to utilisation of eco-friendly products and food service packaging is no exception. Owing to changes in preferences, the focus of manufacturers shifted to providing easy to use, safe, and eco-friendly packaging.

Innovative materials have been utilised for making packaging products, so that these materials can lower carbon footprint and be recycled. From developing materials for food preparation to takeaway applications, packaging manufacturers have been launching innovative and eco-friendly products by taking growing environmental issues into consideration.

The trend of recyclable and biodegradable packaging is taking place worldwide. The pandemics such as Covid-19 enforced manufacturers, restaurant owners, and other businesses from the food industry to utilize packaging that have minimum touch points and provide security from contamination.

The trend of single-use food service packaging emerged as it offers safety, flexibility, and ability to give important messages through packaging. Moreover, single-use packaging is sanitary as the food can be packaged, delivered to the location, and disposed safely after the use. Recent scientific studies found that the levels of bacteria and micro-bacteria are higher in reusable packaging material as compared to single-use materials.

In addition, single-use packaging materials are favourable for environment as it does not need to be cleaned and dried. The recycled materials used in food service packaging can be utilized for forming new products. This would also reduce the waste. So, the demand for eco-friendly, recyclable, and customizable packaging solutions from the food industry would grow in coming years. According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global food service packaging market  is expected to grow considerably in the next few years. Following are some of the activities and initiative taking place across the world.
   
The launch of new packaging products that offers various benefits such as Eco-friendliness and safety has been taking place worldwide. Packaging companies have been introducing different products that are made from materials that can be recycled. Celebration Packaging, one of the major food service packaging companies, launched customizable and microwavable hinged-lid food containers for meal preparation applications. These containers are made up of virgin polypropylene (PP) materials and can be recycled.

Nick Burton, MD at Celebration Packaging, emphasised on the rise in demand for single-use disposable plastic packaging. Owing to demand for such products, the company conducted trials with a couple of food service businesses and came up with customisable and microwavable products that can be used during the meal preparation.

These products increase the speed of preparation and eliminate service errors. They are customisable and contain air vents for letting the steam off during microwave applications. Being one of the leading players in the food service packaging industry, the company has been seeking innovative eco-friendly solutions since the launch of its first product.

The trend of development of eco-friendly packaging has grown significantly and companies have been launching their products to lower carbon footprint. Stora Enso launched takeaway bowls PureFibre. These bowls do not contain plastic and are designed to provide replacement for plastic packaging for on-the-go foods.

Moreover, these products are designed to ensure circularity, which implies that they are recyclable, renewable, and biodegradable. The recently launched products offer 75% lower carbon footprint as compared to products made up of bagasse and plastic. The company launched its eco-friendly products for brands that are looking for achieving sustainability and circular economy. The company’s representative highlighted that the new product would play a significant role in adoption of non-plastic food packaging. Both companies have been working together for bringing eco-friendly solutions to the market.  

The trend of packaging products made from plants and eco-friendly materials including different sugar by-products has grown considerably. Responsible Products, one of the manufacturers of food service packaging from Cincinnati, manufactures and distributes plastic-free takeaway containers in all shapes and sizes to local restaurants and nationwide. The company contributed leftovers from different manufacturing processes and created eco-friendly products. Many restaurant owners, brewers, and cloud kitchens have been a part of zero-waste movement and this led to adoption of eco-friendly packaging products.

(The author is researcher at Allied Analytics. She can be reached at sonali.sharma@alliedanalytics.com)

 
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