Wednesday, 14 August 2019 09:26

Italy: Packaging key to staying sustainable while moving from commodity to premium

International food processors and retailers were invited by Sealed Air to the company’s brand-new Milan Packforum in June this year for an update on how the market is changing from commodity to premium products and how industry players manage to do so while improving their green credentials. At the event, Rabobank – a leading international bank with a mission to promote greater sustainability in food production – showed that adding value to products and following convenience trends are key factors for retailers to succeed. Rabobank demonstrated this using the example of salmon, which now shows the highest consumption among all proteins thanks to products being innovative, convenient for consumers and packaged for premium positioning.

 

During the event experts from various fields – product development, circular economy, sales and food safety – discussed how to define premium concepts and how to take premium to the next level using a sustainable approach. Key take-aways for the industry are that premium products are driving growth for retail and consumers are willing to pay more for such goods. However, these products must deliver on their promises of quality, transparency, perfect user experience, and environmental friendliness. The conclusion was that packaging plays a key role in moving products into the premium segment since it can provide all these attributes. A major issue now for the whole food industry is sustainability and finding solutions for the premium segment compatible with the circular economy. In their quest to reduce waste, producers and retailers can be aided by a life cycle assessment which shows them the environmental impact associated with all stages of a product’s life: from raw materials to manufacturing, use to the end of life disposal or recycling. Packaging innovations can help reduce plastic, food waste, carbon footprint and in turn improve sustainability of the whole value chain. With 76% of European consumers saying they would think more highly of food brands using packaging that helps them to reduce food waste, retailers need to revisit their packaging solutions.