Combating Food Waste During the Product Development Phase

image of girl pouring can contents into a stockpot
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

In this blog post, we look at how working with your packaging provider early in the product development process can help combat food waste.

If food waste were represented as a standalone country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases globally after China and the U.S.1This statistic may not be well-known, but it is one we are keenly aware of at Crown. That is why we have partnered with Dr. Lilly DaGama, a food waste consultant and founder of The Food Waste Doctor, to drill down into the food waste issue and discover where metal packaging can make an impact.

The value of involving packaging manufacturers early in the process – even as early as the concept phase–as opposed to the point when a product is already developed can not be underestimated. Far more can be done to ensure the package itself can make a difference in terms of food waste if this is the case, as features can be incorporated before a concept goes into production.

When considering new packaging solutions, brands must also weigh costs associated with changes to the production process, such as costs of retooling. While these issues are certainly important, they also raise questions about the steps that manufacturers can take to minimize their impact. One option is for brand owners to also engage their packaging partners in the product development process. By doing this, along with inviting consumer opinion, more holistic solutions can be developed to prevent food waste rather than address it as an existing issue.

According to Dr. DaGama, one of the keys to success is gaining an understanding of the true environmental impact of a product, which can be achieved with the help of lifecycle assessments. This means that brand owners should also involve their sustainability teams more often and earlier in the process to identify where impacts can be made in terms of food waste reduction. Then, by working closely with the chosen packaging partner, they can help develop solutions that address these concerns.

In conclusion, when it comes to products in development, it is far better to think about more than just the design of the label. Think about portion sizing, shaping, ergonomics, how it may be opened or resealed, and most importantly,think about what a specialist packaging manufacturer can achieve if approached early,as opposed to leaving their involvement for far later in the process. To learn more, download our white paper “Food Waste: Turning a Challenge into an Opportunity”: