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The Food Industry’s War on Plastic

3 min read
AUTHOR: Jack Simpson

As we exit the worst of the pandemic, which saw the food packaging industry become so heavily relied upon, we look at how some companies within the sector are making it their mission to reignite the war on plastic.

11 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean each year. Despite efforts to reduce single-use plastic in the West, plastic consumption is increasing globally and is majorly contributing to emissions due to both the increase in production and transport of plastic. Is simply reducing plastic usage making enough of a difference, or is it time to revolutionise the way in which we produce our packaging?

Xampla’s Innovation

Xampla create natural alternatives to single use plastic and have created the world’s first plant protein material for commercial use. CEO Simon Hombersley’s mission is for Xampla to be the world leader in replacement of plastic. The critical feature of Xampla’s materials is that they possess ‘zero harm at end of life’. Once this plant protein packaging ends up in the environment as waste, it biodegrades. What does innovation like this mean for the food industry?

Fight for change

Greenpeace is calling for supermarkets to halve their use of throwaway plastic packaging by 2050. In an increasing environmentally conscious world, there are growing expectations of the food packaging industry to make more of a difference.

In Food Matters Careers ‘Careers in Packaging’ event in 2020, Paul Foulkes-Arellano, Founder of Sustainable Packaging Alliance said, “The legislations coming in are getting tougher, so companies are starting to develop their packaging.”

Could innovations, like that of Xampla, be the catalyst for change in the food packaging Industry? With food and drink companies hungry to triumph their brand image, the food industry’s transition to using sustainable packaging is imminent. As comprehensive sustainable packaging becomes more widely available, might we see a domino effect within the food industry whereby organisations race to achieve a ‘green’ status?
This would create an influx of new career opportunities as new organisations begin to eco-innovate and require a new pool of skills.
June Allen, Chair of IOM3 Packaging Society said, “There are so many new areas coming it’s a very dynamic industry.”

The war on plastic is an immediate concern of the food industry, but as we seek a way to emerge from the crisis of this current pandemic, is this the time to truly begin the war on plastic? We need a new generation of sustainable packaging experts who are ready to revolutionise the food industry.
Find out more about the future of careers within the food industry at Food Matters Careers Week 2021.