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5 Questions to Ask With Sustainable Food Packaging

sustainable food packaging

1. How do I know this packaging option will be popular with consumers?

There’s a hefty appetite for sustainable packaging in the market at large. However, there’s more than sustainability to consider when evaluating whether the package will help your product sell. Is it trendy? Is the market moving in the direction of this format, material, or function? In 2022, sustainable food packaging is trending towards biodegradables and compostables, monomaterials, flexible packaging, and reusable or refillable packaging programs.

2. Is it recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable?

There are many ways that eco-friendly packaging for food can be “sustainable.” Is it made from sustainable resources, such as paper or bioplastics? Is it manufactured and shipped through carbon-neutral or sustainable processes? Can it be recycled or composted after use, eliminating waste from the packaging ecosystem? Calling your packaging sustainable is not specific enough on its own — learn what exactly the style you're evaluating does, how it's made, and how you can easily communicate that to customers.

3. Does it work for beverages and liquids?

Sodas, alcohols, soups, sauces, soaps, and other liquid household or food products need sustainable packaging, too. However, the truth is that not all sustainable food packaging materials are well-suited to storing liquids right now. For instance, compostable pouches are an exciting flexible and biodegradable option, but they don’t work well with liquids for some of the same reasons that they are able to decompose. If you’re packaging liquid products, stick to 100% recyclable or reusable eco-friendly packaging for food — R7 plastics, glass, aluminum cans, flexible alternatives to cans, etc.

4. Can I print directly on the material?

The most professional-looking and attractive packaging will be fully printed and branded directly on the packaging material itself. A separate labeling step increases costs, slows down your packaging process, and requires additional attention to the sustainability of the label (and how it could potentially affect recycling). You’ll also want to select a format that gives you a lot of marketing real estate to broadcast sustainability messaging and attract attention to your product/brand. Look for sustainable food packaging that can be digitally printed, edge-to-edge, for the most possible impact.

5. Does it align with my sustainability goals?

Your sustainable food packaging may be part of a broader sustainability strategy focused on a particular commitment or public initiative. For example, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has introduced a global commitment to eliminate plastic pollution and achieve 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025. Major frozen food manufacturers like Danone, Mondelez, and others have already signed on. Is the packaging you’re looking at going to help you achieve the goals you’ve set in the appropriate timeline?

Connect With a Global Network of Packaging Experts

ABC Packaging Direct — The Overseas Network is ready to help you find the perfect sustainable food packaging for your needs. Get in touch with us today to chat through the questions and options listed above or any unique concerns you may have. Leverage our trusted worldwide network of vetted suppliers and years of experience working with eco-friendly packaging solutions to turn sustainability into a competitive advantage.

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