In the fight against food waste, the federal government also wants to rely on intelligent packaging.
On 20 February, the Federal Cabinet adopted a strategy to reduce food waste. Julia Klöckner, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, introduced the strategy. One point of this strategy is “intelligent packaging”. Packaging that accurately indicates the wholesomeness and safety of food should be quickly brought to market maturity and tested in practice for its actual contribution to reducing food waste. Through its innovation programme, the Federal Ministry promotes corresponding research projects that also address challenging issues, such as the sustainable production of such packaging.
The German Packaging Institute e.V. (dvi) welcomes Julia Klöckner’s initiative to halve the amount of discarded food by 2030. Kim Cheng, Managing Director of dvi, explains: “Modern packaging has continually improved the shelf life of our food. We can further expand these services through innovations such as active or intelligent packaging. In addition, these packagings can communicate with consumers in a very precise and understandable way, informing them about the quality of the goods”.
From dvi’s point of view, it will be crucial for the mass use of intelligent packaging functions that they are implemented in a recyclable manner. “The indicators integrated on or in the packaging must either be made of the same material as the rest of the packaging so that they can be recycled together, or the indicators must be easily and residue-free separated from the packaging during the recycling process and sent to another suitable recycling process,” says Kim Cheng.
The packaging industry is highly innovative. “There have been intelligent and active packaging solutions for years, some of which are already in widespread use, for example for fruit and vegetables”. For example, special corrugated cardboard is used for apple crates, which absorbs and neutralizes the ripening gas ethylene naturally released by the apples. This allows fruit and vegetables to be stored longer and a rotten apple “no longer infects the others”.
The Federal Association of the German Food Trade (BVLH) also expressed its support for the Federal Government’s strategy to reduce food losses. “The food trade participates actively and with a sense of proportion in the implementation of the strategy at association and company level. In their measures to reduce food losses, retailers must always strike a balance between competition, customer orientation and sustainability,” a statement states.