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Protect The Food You Eat

Today is World Food Day.  A day where we pay extra attention to the world’s food supply; and assess what we can do as citizens of the world to ensure the safe and continuous consumption of one of the most basic human needs.

According to recent statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),

Approximately 14% of the food produced for consumption globally each year is lost before reaching the wholesale market.

The global population is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, significantly increasing the demand for food.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse.   Estimates by ReFED (a collection of business, non-profit and government leaders committed to reducing food waste) state that “in America alone, $218 billion is spent growing, processing, transporting and disposing of food that is never eaten.  This is equivalent to 1.3% of GDP”.  The numbers are startling and paint quite an alarming picture of the cost of waste today.  Rather than treating food waste as a product, maybe it’s time for us to see waste as a human behavior that needs to be addressed. 

The theme for this year’s World Food Day is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together”.  One of the important aspects of this theme is that it ties in with the Circular Economy concept, where the goal is to create a more sustainable future by minimizing or reusing waste.  There are 2 integral ways where both consumers and packaging companies can play more active roles in reducing food waste.

1. Understanding the protective use of plastic food packages:

At Winpak, “it’s our nature to protect” and preserve the wholesomeness of perishable food.  The core purpose of a package is to preserve and protect its contents.  A thin sheet of flexible plastic film can be composed of up to 12 layers, each with a unique function depending on the food application.  Maintaining food safety and extending product shelf-life are great attributes of a plastic package, which comes in quite handy when transporting food from farm to store.    

In a publication from Ameripen, it is noted that properly designed packaging reduces the environmental impact of the food value chain. Embedded resources like water, grain, processing energy, transportation and refrigeration are lost when food is wasted, not to mention the lost calories and nutrients that may not reach those in need.

2. Creating sustainable food packaging:

The term “Sustainable Packaging” has broad meaning at Winpak.  As already stated, packaging is intended to protect its contents in the most efficient manner possible.  Secondly, through packaging design, we also enhance cubing potential and reduce shipping weight, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with transporting goods. 

Winpak is aligned with the Circular Economy and Sustainable Materials Management principles embracing the philosophy of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We offer the ReFresh™ recycle ready products which give our customers a way to do their part. With these packaging innovations, our customers are ready for the change coming to recycling infrastructure.  By producing recycle ready products to meet the market’s desire to be more sustainable, Winpak is an active contributor to promoting a Circular Economy outlook.

It will take a collective effort to “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together”.  However, by recognizing the importance of protective food packaging and treating “waste” as a potential behavior we should address, each of us can play a small role in protecting and preserving our food supply.
James  Holland
Author
James Holland
President, Winpak Division & Winpak Films Inc.
Winnipeg, MB Canada
james.holland@winpak.com

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Matthew Smith

Monday, October 19, 2020, 11:37 PM

Well done! This article properly positions the great value of engineered materials and how Winpak's products protect the safety of our food supply and minimize food waste and spoilage. Our forward vision and technology platforms will continually allow Winpak to preserve our environment and reduce packaging.

Deborah Hopkins

Friday, October 16, 2020, 5:39 PM

As a consumer who cares about climate change and the environment, I am frustrated by what I perceive as unnecessary produce packaging. Given the choice, I buy single peppers and potatoes; I bring my own paper bags for mushrooms and green beans. If I must buy produce in plastic, I save the container for reuse. Why can't unrecycable plastic film and wrap be replaced by something biodegradable and clearly identified as such?Preserving freshness should be addressed by improvements to the supply chain, not by additional plastic packaging. The cynic in me suspects the use of plastic is more about corporate profit than the altruism of reducing food waste. With the elimination of some single use plastics coming to Canada, it seems to me your company is uniquely positioned to be an innovator and a leader in environmentally friendly food packaging.

Keith Dunne

Friday, October 16, 2020, 3:15 PM

This is a great start to engage consumers on the vital importance packaging plays in protecting our food. I look forward to many more insightful posts on how Winpak is helping!

Kraig Kingston

Friday, October 16, 2020, 1:36 PM

Very poignant with great info and well written James.

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