Food safety is a priority for confectionery manufacturers. One challenge is to offer new, more sustainable packaging materials.
In Germany, the annual per capita consumption of sweets and snacks has been stable for ten years. According to the German Confectionery Industry Association (Bundesverband der Deutschen Süßwarenindustrie e.V. – BDSI), it was 30.8 kilograms in 2008 and 30.6 kilograms in 2018. Domestic sales stagnated at around EUR 8 billion in 2018 (+0.1 per cent), while export sales grew by 3.6 per cent to around EUR 8.3 billion. In total, confectionery, long-life baked goods (biscuits or lye bread, for example) and ice cream accounted for 8.3 per cent of total German food industry sales in 2018.
The Packaging Act and particularly recycling are also a much discussed topic in the confectionery industry, as they are in the food industry as a whole. “This topic is viral, and we will be discussing it at our upcoming general meeting,” confirms Dr Torben Erbrath, Managing Director of the BDSI. After the general meeting he will be able to make an official statement on the position of the association and its members. The BDSI represents the economic interests of the predominantly small and medium-sized companies of the German confectionery industry. The current chairman is Stephan Niessner, managing director of Ferrero Deutschland GmbH.
Change to monomaterials
According to Dr Erbrath, one trend in the packaging of confectionery, non-perishable baked goods and snacks is the switch from composite materials to monomaterials, “where this is possible, i.e. food safety is not impaired”. As an example, he cites the MOSH/MOAH problem: mineral oil hydrocarbons from packaging materials (recycled paper, printing inks, jute bags) apparently show a high migration potential with food. “This is why we have introduced packaging with barrier layers – at least for cardboard packaging,” says Dr Erbrath. He sees this as a major challenge, explaining that on the one hand you want to use packaging materials that are as pure as possible, while on the other, you have to bear food safety in mind.
Product protection and quality preservation
The packaging of fine baked goods, for example, must ensure that the product reaches the consumer in a completely hygienic state. For the BDSI, food safety and health are of paramount importance. Another important function is preserving quality. According to the BDSI, good packaging must ensure among other things that baked goods still taste fresh and crisp even after extended proper storage. The packaging must keep away anything that can impair quality, such as moisture, dirt or external pressure.
Especially for the confectionary industry the benchmark for packaging is particularly high, as it has to protect the valuable content and also look as attractive as possible. At FachPack you will see innovative solutions from innovative exhibitors. More information can be found here.
In accordance with legislation, the consumer is also provided on the packaging with product information that is decisive for purchase: the description of the food, the list of ingredients, the best-before date and nutritional information through to storage instructions. In the case of baked goods, all this applies equally to the frequently used tins, cardboard packaging or bags.
A consumer survey published by the Hamburg market research institute EARSandEYES at the end of last year revealed an additional aspect. According to this, 52 per cent of the 1,500 consumers surveyed wanted a reduction in packaging for sweets. Specifically, they criticised biscuits and other confectionary in multiple packaging.
Graphic: BDSI, sources: Federal Statistical Office, Federal Association of the German Food Industry