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Save Food Study: Why Reusable Packaging is the Answer to Food Waste

Food waste is an urgent global issue that leads not only to the waste of resources but also to hunger and environmental damages.
Annually, 88 million tons of food are discarded in Europe alone, before they even reach our plates (source: European Parliament).
The Stiftung Initiative Mehrweg (foundation initiative reuse) has published an insightful study on this topic, providing concrete solutions to the problem.
The study was planned and conducted to investigate the impact of packaging on the quality of food in the supply chain. With a special focus on re-usable transport packaging, the study highlighted the effectiveness of reducing food waste.

The results of the study:

The study shows a clear correlation between returnable transport packaging and a significant reduction in food waste.
Several levels are considered here:

  1. Prolonged shelf life: Re-usable transport packaging protects food better from external factors such as moisture, temperature fluctuations, and mechanical stress.
  2. Reduction of damage: Food transported in returnable transport packaging is less susceptible to crushing and other damages due to the robust nature of the packaging.
  3. Optimized logistics and waste prevention: Due to their durability, re-usable transport packaging is not only more environmentally friendly, but also enables more efficient logistics. For example, folding crates used in reusable systems can be returned more easily due to their volume reduction and do not need to be discarded.
  4. Better storage: Returnable transport packaging often provides better storage options, which is especially significant in cold chain logistics. They are resistant to climatic changes and do not soften like cartons.
  5. Quality assurance: Smart Labels ensure the traceability of re-usable transport packaging, leading to better quality controls and more transparency in the supply chain.

What does this mean for the food industry and trade?

The save food study shows that returnable transport packaging can be an effective tool in the fight against food waste.
These findings should be utilized in industry and trade, as there are enough vulnerabilities for food waste throughout the entire supply chain, both in central warehouses and at the point of sale. This reduces long-term costs in purchasing as well as in disposal.

The specific results and savings potentials can be read about here.


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