The reduction of single-use plastic packaging was the subject of the 6th Roundtable of the National Food Chain Safety Office (Nébih) on March 25, 2021. In addition to the representatives from the food industry, retail, catering and national authority, experts in the field of packaging technology also participated the professional consultation via online presentations and round table discussion.
Although reducing the amount of plastic packaging along the food chain is an unequivocal social expectation, the role of protective packaging in food safety and quality preservation should not be forgotten. Consumer surveys show that the environmental impact of food packaging is one of the major sustainability concerns for consumers. This strong concern results that the environmental impact of packaging is generally overestimated compared to the product that the packaging is designed to protect. However, the presented results consistently demonstrated that food packaging significantly contributes to sustainable consumption patterns, such as food waste reduction by preventing food spoilage. Research results showed that the environmental burden of food waste due to lack of protective packaging is much higher than the environmental impact of packaging.
The experience of the event has confirmed that there is an urgent need to develop more sustainable food packaging materials and waste recovery solutions that are also perfectly compliant with all the current protective and food safety role of single-use plastic packaging.