Food prepares to say goodbye to plastic

by time news

2023-05-28 17:57:47

The sector agribusiness all of Spain prepares to say goodbye to plastic. The beginning of 2023 has marked the end of the packaging of this material for the delivery of fruits i vegetables in some sales channels of commercial surfaces. It is applied in retail businesses, neighborhood shops and supermarkets. It is a measure that contemplates the royal decree on packaging and waste of Ministry for Ecological Transitiona rule that fully affects the industry of the container and packagingof which 3,180 are part companies Spanish companies that generate an annual turnover of 29.750 millions of euros. The bulk of containers and packaging (70%) it is used in the field of food and beverages.

the new legislation applies to all businesses retailers of more than 300 square meters. forbid plastic wraps and containers for the sale of fruit and vegetables in batches of less than 1.5 kilos. The rule also obliges the sector to present in bulk those fresh fruits and vegetables that are marketed whole, as well as to promote the sale of food in bulk, especially in those cases where “the packaging does not add any added value to the product” , says exactly the norma. In addition, businesses with an area equal to or greater than a 400 square meters to allocate, at least the 20% from your sales area to the offer of products presented without packaging primaryincluding sale to bulk or through packaging reusable.

What does the sector do?

The legislative pressure that exists at the moment and that comes from Europe, like the one that comes from the consumers, is getting bigger and bigger. Therefore, the special tax on the packaging of plastic has raised quite a few doubts in all those sectors that use packaging to sell their items. The president of Packaging and Packaging Innovation Cluster, Amaya Fernándezemphasizes that the objective “is not to immediately eliminate plastic, which cannot be demonized, but cut down the waste generated”. “The problem is not the materials, but the management of the waste”, points out the board of this association which is looking for new ones trends i innovation. “The focus vol optimize packaging materials, such as plastic, paper, cardboard, glass and metal. And carry out actions throughout the value chain to reduce waste, reuse, recycle and value», he points out.

Barcelona it is the city that has the most companies in the field of the so-called packaging (22,7%)followed by Madrid (10.31%), Valencia (9.94%), Murcia (6.42%) and Alicante (6.01%)according to the latest report developed by Hispack. The sector employs some 113,000 workers.

The circular economy said lessons environmental policies that arrive from Brussel·les and sets the agenda for the industry agri-food. According to Fernández, Spain’s packaging industry must face the challenge of sustainability, “although also the design and user experience – that is, the adaptation of the packaging to the people -, digitization and well-being so that it provides security and trust, without forgetting innovation”. “And in this way know how innovation flows can be generated and collaboration between different agents and how to face new projects”, he adds.

In the field of beverages, the bottles begin to be realized through the so-called r-PET, 100% recycled plasticalthough the problem for the food industry is precisely the decline availability of recycled material, which makes it difficult for it to spread throughout the sector. Recycled PET reduces the carbon footprint up to 77% compared to conventional PET.

We also already find plastics biodegradable i compostable. We see it in waste bags organic and in the bags of sections such as the bakery and the fruit section of supermarkets. Even on tea bags or labels for different products. They are materials manufactured from sources renewable (maize starch and potato starch, and even from biomass) and can be biodegradable or compostable, with a specific treatment and under certain conditions. In addition, work is being done to reduce the amount of material used in each package, making sure that it maintains all the properties. At this point, they are mixing conventional materials along with natural reinforcements to improve your functionality.

The trough of the‘e-commerce imposes new specific challenges, such as maintaining the safety of items during their transport i keep the communication capacity of the products themselves. In this sense, engineering projects such as smart packaging are emerging that offer information to the consumer regarding their traceability and the state of the food: for example, with labels that change color over time. These smart labels monitor the shipments and allow the end customer to know the history of the shipment, with the possibility of being able to recharge them at different points in the value chain. And connect them to a system of artificial intelligence (AI) capable of interpreting millions of data with which to detect defective items at an early stage and improve the processes of distribution and logistics.

Wood instead of plastic

Consumer companies are mainly looking for alternatives in paper i cardboard. In many cases, food manufacturers have opted to introduce the cardboard tray to sell food to their customers, especially supermarkets. Ramón Lacomba, corporate director C+I+D (creativity, innovation and development) of the firm Traditional Dishesspecialized in cooking ready-to-eat foods, with more than 800 employees and 15 production lines, has innovative wooden terrines in which its lasagnas are baked daily. “We also open the possibility to explore the use of reusable packaging, inviting companies in the packaging sector, innovation centers and packaging specialists to develop new materials and any improvements in this regard that allow them to be used in food” , add.

In the meantime, Maria Forcadadirector of Innovation of the group’s fourth range Foodiversespecialist in the development and preparation of salads and fresh vegetables, manufacturer of the brand VerdifreshWhat do you see Mercadona, acknowledges that, “currently, plastic is the material that provides the most guarantees of food safety and quality”. “It allows better maintenance of the properties organoleptic and thus avoids food waste”, he argues. For this reason, in its search to enhance circularity and the revaluation of its packaging, Verdifresh opts for a plastic that incorporates recycled material. And works to offer packaging materials alternatives more sustainable than cardboard.

too Verdú-Cantó Safron Spainas he explains Sandra Sirera, director of quality, R+D+ii sustainability. This company from Alicante specializes in decorations for cooking and gastronomy, botanicals for cocktails and saffron, with almost 140 years of history in the spice business, advocates for sustainable packaging to highlight its star product: saffron. “In recent decades, it is being affected by the lack of crops that meet the needs of the industry and is therefore in danger of extinction”, he warns.

In this line, this mercantile is launching shares circular economy for the organic waste it generates, since the petals of the saffron flower have a great potential for revaluation in the food industry.

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