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Sustainable Plastic Packaging for Snack Foods

2019-04-30 09:07 Tuesday


The campaign for fully recyclable and biodegradable packaging materials is gaining momentum as consumers learn more about the dangers of plastics to natural habitats such as the oceans.

 Sustainable Plastic Packaging

Although the trend is still on a slow rise, many experts predict that sustainable packaging will cover most consumer packaging within a decade. The problem for makers of baked goods and snacks is how to switch to these ingredients without raising prices or exceeding consumer expectations.

Many laminated films are now not fully recycled. Metals, certain resins and other materials in film and packaging are prohibited from reuse. In fact, 100% recycled film and packaging can cost up to 20% more, sometimes with a tradeoff in process performance. Bakers need to weigh the importance of these ingredients against their bottom line. If the packaging were fully recyclable, would consumers pay 10% more for a bag of crisps?

According to the 2018 PMMI report, " Snack Foods — Packaging and Processing Market Assessment and Trends," sustainable packaging is not yet a major factor influencing consumers' purchasing decisions. That is, just because something is or isn't recyclable doesn't seriously affect buying decisions.

Still, about 25% of U.S., U.K. and German consumers say biodegradable or compostable packaging is an important consideration when buying food, according to a recent survey by Innova Market Research. PMMI forecasts that recyclable and biodegradable packaging will grow slowly over the next two to three years, but within five to 10 years they will become more relevant and take a larger share of the market.

Kraft Heinz of Chicago and Nestle of Switzerland, for example, have changed their packaging, both promising to be 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

The transition to sustainable films may affect processing speeds, but technology has improved significantly over the past five years. Now, if bakers and snack makers are willing to invest, they have plenty of alternatives.

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