Food industry needs more security

Bottlenecks and defects in recyclable packaging material hit retailers and manufacturers particularly hard. Dierk Schumacher sees this as a job for the legislators.

According to Dierk Schumacher, managing partner and shareholder of Dr Schumacher GmbH, packaging must be viewed from four perspectives – consumers, retailers, manufacturers and legislators.

“If the consumer wants to buy a yoghurt, the packaging is not their primary concern.” Rather, they want a clear conscience that eco-materials make the product “safe” and allow it to re-enter the material cycle. They also expect clear orientation from eco-labels. Retailers want to follow the “sustainability megatrend” and focus on things that give consumers a good shopping experience and meet their expectations. Manufacturers, in turn, must ensure that the materials used do not have any negative effects on the product – and this over its entire life cycle. Consistent packaging quality is important for this.

However, a bottleneck can quickly emerge in recyclable packaging material, or products can even be contaminated – in which case the damage to the company’s image is considerable. “This risk is unacceptable for retailers and manufacturers,” Schumacher says. He is calling on the legislators to provide more security for the industry: competition law must make it clear that only very specific statements are permissible. Another ethical point is that only packaging that is recyclable in accordance with the Packaging Act may be used.

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