There’s another approach to packaging and sustainability, and that pertains to limiting waste of food and materials, said Susan Edwards, foodservice manager and corporate chef with Duncan, S.C.-based Cryovac Food Packaging.
“We feel if our packaging is reducing food waste to fight costs,” Edwards said. “One is portion control. We have the ability to work with foodservice to control portion control to help cut waste.”
It’s a sound philosophy, said Myra Foster, marketing director.
“Certainly there’s a certain amount of energy involved in producing packaging, but the energy involved in production of food, we focus on how to optimize shelf life to minimize food waste,” she said. “So as we look at materials, we know there’s a long way to go with that and so we focus on what we can impact now until all layered materials are recyclable.”
Cryovac is doing a lot with packaging sizes, Edwards said.
“Our vertical pouch program, tended at first to be one size at first, but now we offer a wide range of sizes,” she said.
The company is always looking into new resin combinations and platforms, Foster said.
“Where typically you need much higher permeability, we need to focus on new resin technologies,” she said. “We look at what’s the proper balance and doing it in the right format.”
The company also looks at sustainability from various perspectives, Foster said.
“When you think of sustainability, people often think of renewable or recyclable or biodegradable, but we look at source reduction, so again you’re minimizing the amount of packaging needed,” she said.
“It will be incremental improvement until technology enables us to truly recycle and reuse every bit of material.”
The innovations fit nicely with the growth of fresh-cut produce, and, particularly, with the emergence of fresh-cut fruit, Foster said.
“Our packaging portfolio for fresh-cut producers includes optimum shelf life for fruit,” she said. “There is material that worked well for apples. Formats exist in our current offerings for shelf life for fresh-cut apples and things of that nature. We’re constantly looking at foodservice and retail industry and trying to stay abreast of what needs are not being met.”