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Study reveals food safety-environment dilemma fostered by Covid-19

Tetrapak study indicates that globally 77% of consumers see food waste as a key challenge; Concern for the environment is substantially ahead of everything else, except Covid-19.

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Food Waste
November 19 2020
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Tetra Pak unveiled the findings from its global research study, in partnership with Ipsos, which indicated that food safety is a major issue for society. The respondents believe that Covid-19 is a “real threat”. At the same time, concern for the environment remains strikingly powerful, pointing towards a dilemma in the consumers’ minds as they try to balance the critical priorities of human existence through safe food and sustainability of the planet.

The 13th edition of the Tetra Pak Index has seen a 10 percent increase in global concern about food safety and future food supplies, now at 40 percent, compared to 30 percent from 2019, as per the press release. In addition, more than 50 percent of consumers not only believe that improving food safety is the responsibility of manufacturers, but they also see it as the number one issue that companies need to tackle now and in the future. As per the research, health is deeply connected to heightened issues of food safety and hygiene: with two-thirds of consumers saying that being healthy is being safe and 60 percent of consumers globally saying they worry about the food they buy being hygienic and safe.

When asked what is key for them in a package, consumers said that ensuring food safety is its main purpose. They also expressed concerns about environmental innovations in packaging impacting food safety, even though the majority of respondents noted ‘using sustainable packaging’ as one of the top issues food and beverage brands need to tackle.

The Tetra Pak Index 2020 highlights how food waste is rising up the agenda and this is now seen as a concern by more than three-quarters of respondents. The impact of Covid-19 on supply chains has accelerated awareness of food waste as a pressing issue. There is a likelihood that this sentiment will grow going forward, as the world strives to feed its growing population.

Consumers cited food waste reduction as both the number one environmental issue they can influence themselves and one of the top three priorities for manufacturers. But confusing labelling is a barrier, offering brands a chance for better communication. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the status quo, accelerated trends and created a new landscape of consumer needs and opportunities for companies to build on. In particular, the industry needs to address the growing dilemma around food safety and the environment, stepping up towards the twin goals of meeting the human need for food while protecting our planet’s ecosystem. This is where food packaging can play a strong role in bringing about harmony,” said Adolfo Orive, President and CEO, Tetra Pak.

“Working closely with our customers and stakeholders, we are already on a journey to create the ultimate sustainable food package - a carton package that is made solely from responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials, is fully recyclable and carbon-neutral, allowing ambient distribution and meeting food safety requirements. We see this as a critical step in building a sustainable future for the next generation, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19.”


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