Reducing our Food-Print: Better Designs for Food Packaging
Mitsui Chemicals India Blog Series
Mitsui Chemicals India Pvt. Ltd.
Packaging is much more than a simple wrapper; packaging design in itself holds great importance for brand value. As conscious consumers, we choose the best products for ourselves, and the packaging design must contribute to keeping it hygienic and safe while maintaining an aesthetic appeal. Studies suggest that food packaging accounts for approximately 60% of all plastics produced globally.
While we cannot avoid the use of plastic, its harmful effects can be mitigated. We should consider both how the food is packaged and how the packaging itself is made. In this blog, we will address the growing concerns to achieve packaging sustainability.
Understanding Sustainability Tradeoffs with Food Packaging
Packaging plays a critical role in protecting our food, extending its shelf life, and facilitating convenience during transportation or warehousing. In India, plastics have been used in 80% of food launches as a principal food packaging material in the past years. Thus, it is essential to understand what baneful effects this unrecyclable plastic has. The packaging that is disposed of fills up the landfills and waterways, thus threatening the environment and human health. However, with a global shift towards combating climate change, the packaging for food products will alter and the improved packaging design will bring about less waste.
One of the significant issues with food packaging materials is the prolonged exposure to non-recyclable additives or coatings. Hence it is crucial to opt for the products that add value to the packaging material. At Mitsui Chemicals India, our mission is to innovate food packaging materials and expand the lineup of such value-added products.
Shouldn't our concerns shift a little from "what we eat" to "what we eat comes in"?
Furthermore, developing countries frequently face the problem of inadequate storage facilities, whereas developed countries face the problem of food waste directly from the end consumers. One-third of the food which is produced for human consumption is estimated to be wasted along the supply chain.
Nowadays, while some brands are promoting sustainable food packaging materials, others prefer convenience and durability over sustenance. As a result, choosing the right materials that serve quality food packaging becomes a matter of concern. Mitsui’s view of food packaging design is a feasible solution to these concerns.
What is the Food Packaging Path Forward?
According to a McKinsey survey, environmental impact along with stringent hygiene requirements and consumer safety are the necessary requirements that a standard food packaging design must meet. Maintaining an innovative and suitable food packaging design that is reusable, recyclable, resealable, and convenient to use while meeting sustainable packaging standards is crucial.
At Mitsui Chemicals India, we recognize ecological risk factors and the emerging challenges in our society. Mitsui's food packaging materials are manufactured, keeping sustainability and better quality of life through our own BlueTM and RoseTM value benchmarks. Some of these high-performance film solutions are listed below:
One of the most widely used food-grade plastics is LLDPE Polyethylene Film. This high-performance sealant film is environmentally friendly and can withstand high temperatures. Thus, it is commonly used in packaging frozen foods, snacks, milk cartons, and many other prepared food items.
1. It has high impact strength that prevents food spillages, making it an optimal choice for food packaging.
2. It exhibits excellent wear resistance protecting products from damage while in transit.
3. Most importantly, it protects the products from contamination or damage by external agents, thereby promoting food safety.
This linear low-density polyethylene film is a high-performance sealant used in packaging processed foods especially frozen food, liquid food, refill containers, and standing pouches. Its non-slip performance is even convenient for heavyweight products such as rice.
1. It has the quality property of sealing that is convenient to use.
2. Superior heat-seal strength prevents any leakages, especially for liquid foods.
3. It is cold resistant which makes it a perfect fit for frozen food.
We combine different types of materials, keeping convenience and after use in mind. What is better for sustainable food packaging than mono-material packaging? TAFMERᵀᴹ is one such Mitsui’s food packaging material that is used to improve the SIT of the films when added to the sealant layer. This propylene-based copolymer is widely used in ready-to-serve food packaging.
1. It has excellent sealing and smooth unsealing functionality.
2. It is used for environmentally friendly and durable packaging.
A Deep Dive in Food Packaging Design Solutions
With the surge in demand for processed and prepared foods, plastic usage in India is estimated to double over the next five to ten years. While recycling alone cannot counter the long-term waste problem, there's an immediate need to adopt more effective solutions. Our food packaging design addresses the issue of food waste, thereby reducing the environmental impact of these products is our primary goal.
According to reports, McDonald's plans to use only recyclable packaging by 2025. They aim to align with the customer's preferences and only utilize material that can be brought back into the economic loop. This change in the strategy demonstrates that the public is conscious of product packaging material and design; choosing a healthier and safer solution for food packaging certainly contributes to a positive brand image.
At Mitsui Chemicals India, we are dedicated to providing society with ecological products and services enhancing the quality of life. We will continue to take a long-term view of our business to add sustainable social value. Reach us out at Mitsui Chemicals India to incorporate our solutions into your business and adopt a more sensible approach to packaging for your products.