On December 18, 2020, the research project Package Heroes reported on an analysis that identified “candies” and “ready-to-eat meals” as product categories with the greatest potential to reduce the amount of plastic in used packaging.
So far, research has concentrated largely on finding novel solutions to replace conventional plastics as packaging material. However, finding materials with similar properties can be quite challenging, and replacement is not always applicable to every product category. This analysis was conducted to identify those product groups with a large content of plastics in food packaging and where a replacement could be highly impactful and support compliance with the EU’s Single-Use-Packaging directive (SUP) (FPF reported). The study also investigated whether the replacement would be sensible, e.g. not lead to a higher amount of packaging material in retail or transportation, disrupt recycling loops, or reduce significantly the shelf-life of the food.
Among the identified food product categories, a reduction of plastics was found to potentially have the strongest positive impact on candies and ready-to-eat meals. This is because in these groups the plastic-type varies significantly, and some are difficult to recycle and strongly affected by the EU’s SUP directive.
The project is funded by the Strategic Research Council functioning under the Academy of Finland and is set to run from 2019 until the end of 2023.
Package Heroes (December 18, 2020). “Plastics as packaging material could be reduced especially in the packages of candies and take-away food.”
Taina Lahtinen (September 2020). “Plastics as packaging material could be reduced especially in the packages of candies and take-away food – Package-Heroes.”