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Interview with the projectleader - Ann Lorentzon

According to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, over one million tonnes of food is thrown away each year in Sweden, with households accounting for the majority of this. The “Packaging systems for reduced food waste” project is a broad collaborative project aimed at developing innovative new packaging solutions to reduce waste.

Food waste is a global challenge. Almost all the food we eat has been packaged to some extent. Packaging is, therefore, one approach to reducing food waste, by offering both better protection and improved information and usability. That was the starting point when the “Packaging systems for reduced food waste” project was launched in June 2015. Project manager Ann Lorentzon from the Bioeconomy division explains.

“The most important function of food packaging is to protect the product from production to consumption. Food thrown away due to poor packaging is a huge waste of resources, which is a contributory cause of unnecessary environmental impact. Ironically, we often come across the idea that it is packaging that is the burden on the environment. For example, more than 50 per cent of consumers questioned in our survey said that they regarded packaging as unnecessary. Communication about packaging and food waste is difficult.

”An important part of the project has been surveying quantities and causes of waste all along the value chain, from food manufacturer to consumer. Based on this knowledge, innovative new packaging solutions were developed to help reduce waste and make the food and packaging industry more resource-efficient.

“The products that we worked on in three separate cases are salsa, salad mix and rice pudding. The interesting thing is that although the subprojects were run in parallel and independently of each other, the solution arrived at is the same. The key to reduced food waste is smaller packaging, but more portion packaging.

“Saller packaging means usually more packaging material per amount of food. Anyone unaware of the link between food waste and environmental impact will probably react negatively. In other words, there is a great need for communication. We therefore need to explain to everyone that more packaging material can actually lead to a better environment. That packaging could be an environmental hero than a villain.

”The project, which concludes in the summer, is part of Vinnova’s (The Swedish Innovation Agency)  Challenge-Driven Innovation programme. According to Ann, they are now moving forward with a stage 3 application, in which they will continue to work on the need for communication and information, among other things.

Project participants:Axfood, BillerudKorsnäs, Electrolux, Flextrus, Karlstad University, Konsumentföreningen Stockholm, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Orkla Foods Sverige, Pacsystem, Ragn-Sells, RISE (Bioeconomy + Bioscience and Materials), Santa Maria, Trioplast

Contact

Ann Lorentzon
ann.lorentzon@ri.se 
+46 8 676 7067

Contact

Ann Lorentzon
+46 8 676 7067
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