Questions around the sustainability of plastic food packaging – much of it single use – have increased in number and become more urgent in recent years.
Reducing single use plastic is a key goal and consumers, food producers and retailers are more aware than ever before of the environmental issues created by some forms of traditional plastic packaging.
As a result, new solutions for food pouches and packaging are needed.
Thankfully, innovative design has led to the creation of a new breed of more sustainable food pouches made from specialist substrates and materials, helping to address the problem.
But it’s not just the sustainable materials used in food pouches that offer benefits. It’s the other benefits of weight and shipping that also contribute to lowering carbon emissions.
Let’s take a look at this.
Compostable and recyclable
Many of the materials used in the production of food pouches are compostable or recyclable. As food retailers and producers around the world try to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic, pouches for food, snacks, supplements and other goods offer an environmentally friendly alternative.
In production, waste can also be reduced as precise numbers of pouch units can be manufactured according to requirements. This makes small order runs of pouches more economically viable, reducing excess quantities which so often go unused and thus reducing wastage and environmental impact.
Unlike big and bulky forms of traditional packaging such as boxes, cartons and glass jars, food pouches can be stored and transported more efficiently.
Unlike jars and cans, for example, pouches can be folded flat when empty, taking less space and allowing large quantities to be transported and easily stored.
Once they’re filled and ready to go, pouches are still more compact than other packaging types, again making them more easily stored and transported.
This is great for overall sustainability because it means greater volumes can be shipped in a single shipment, reducing shipping fees, reducing delivery miles and limiting the impact on the environment.
By definition, because of the advanced materials used in manufacture, food pouches are much lighter in weight than other forms of food packaging such as glass.
Once more this enables more efficient shipping, reducing overall shipment weight and therefore fuel usage and contributing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Shoppers also benefit from the convenience that comes with carrying food pouches, as they are lighter than other packaging types, making them easier and more convenient to carry or pop into a bag while on the go.
The lightweight design and materials used in food pouches need not impact on their durability for packaging foods, drinks or supplements.
For example, even when accidentally dropped, food pouches withstand most impacts, even when full – again making them ideal for sales of food designed to be consumed on the go.
Because of this durability, breakages and damage can be significantly reduced compared to other forms of packaging. This helps reduce waste, once more contributing to sustainability as well as keeping costs down.
More carbon efficient
Food pouches can be manufactured to order, to almost any exact number in low quantities, so whether you need 500 or 5000, they are – in general – very cost effective.
The design and manufacturing process is less carbon intensive than many other forms of food packaging, making food pouches extremely efficient in the fight to cut down on carbon emissions associated with manufacturing.
Multi-variant manufacturing means fewer print runs
Because multiple different food pouch variants (or SKUs) can be printed on a single digital print run, fewer separate manufacturing print runs are required overall.
This improves manufacturing efficiency, saving time and cost, and meaning that food pouches produced using digital technology are available quickly.
Digital printing technology results not just in versatile, high-quality pouches, but also because precise numbers of each specific brand or seasonal variant can be printed on the same run, it reduces waste.
Consumers, retailers and manufacturers are all aligned in the search for more sustainable options for food packaging.
Food pouches offer an excellent solution for the reasons described in this blog.
Because they are compostable or recyclable, versatile and easily manufactured, durable and lightweight, manufacturers choosing food pouches over other forms of food packaging will almost certainly be able to reduce their carbon footprint as well as ensuring their products are kept in tip top condition for the consumer.
To find out more about our range of sustainable and customisable food pouches that can be delivered fast and with very low origination costs exactly how you want them, speak to one of our pouch specialists at Readability today.