Packaging Innovation
September 19, 2014

The 5 food packaging innovations of the decade

Technology is one of the driving forces behind packaging innovations in the recent decade. Many of these technological advancements lead to new and improved packaging processes, especially in the field of food packaging. Recycling is one of the most important developments but so are repurposing, packaging elimination and size reduction. Let’s have an in depth look at those.

1. Improved food packaging

Thanks to new technologies, food processing companies can now apply “Modified Atmosphere Packaging”. It’s a practice that replaces the normal air inside a package with a special mix of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, extending the shelf life of the food.

2. Recycling of food packaging

Not so much an innovation of the last decade – more an ongoing technological advancement – packaging recycling is thought of by many to be the key to solving the global waste problem. Admittedly, the technology has taken huge steps but we’re not there yet. In fact, we’re still producing waste at an alarming rate – in 2013 the grocery sector alone was responsible for 6.5 megatons of waste, including 1.2 megatons of packaging!

3. Size reduction of food products

As long as recycling doesn’t suffice to diminish waste, we have to take other measures. Size reduction is one. Squeezing more product into less packaging by increasing the concentration is a material saving innovation more and more companies are interested in. Not only does this save money, it also helps save the environment.

4. Food packaging elimination

Better still, getting rid of packaging altogether! Although this innovation isn’t feasible for most industries, in the field of food processing it (sometimes) is. Dissolvable wrappers and edible packages will eventually find their way to our homes.

5. Repurposing food packages

What if you wouldn’t have to dispose of packaging materials after use but could give waste a new purpose? That’s exactly the aim of repurposing. Not many companies invest in it, yet there are some fine examples. Whether these will find their way to mainstream packaging remains to be seen …

Of these 5 food packaging innovations, recycling seems to be the one where most progress can still be made. The question is however: will we?

Inspired by The Dieline