STOP Waste SAVE Food – innovative packaging solutions for waste reduction at the retail and consumer level

The problem of food waste is nowadays on everyone's lips. The fact that in Austria alone about 75,000 tonnes of foodstuffs are sold in the trade, which are not sold, as well as an additional 35,000 tonnes of bread and pastries, which are returned to the suppliers, was published by the Institute for Waste Management. The amount of preventable food waste in households is estimated to be as high as 206,000 tonnes per year.

The reasons for this are diverse. It is often necessary to dispose of products in the trade, whose minimum period is exceeded and which are therefore no longer bought by the consumer (irrespective of whether the products are still edible or not). A possibility to prevent the premature spoilage of foodstuffs or to extend the shelf life of foodstuffs are specially optimized packaging systems.

The "STOP Waste - SAVE Food" FFG industry project, launched at the end of 2016, deals with the question of whether improved protection and extended shelf life of food through processing optimization and innovative packaging solutions can actually lead to a reduction in food waste. Together with project partners OFI, denkstatt and the Institute for Food Technology of BOKU as well as industrial partners (such as REWE, SPAR, Constantin, Dupont, Sealed Air, Südpack, Gurkenprinz and Staud `s), improvement scenarios for food production, primary and secondary packaging, for packaging and distribution. An objective and comprehensive carbon footprint calculation as well as a cost-benefit analysis along the value chain are carried out.

The aim is to develop guidelines with ecological and economic targets and recommendations for action.

At the Institute for Waste Management, the effects of optimized packaging for the consumer are to be analyzed. Food is often packaged optimally for transport and trade, but subsequently stored incorrectly in the household or the packaging loses its protective effectiveness after the first opening. In order to improve the packaging also for the household and thus to make a further contribution to the avoidance of food waste, the ABF-BOKU tiried by means of interviews, to find out how people deal with the products after purchasing. In addition, simulations with different packaging and different household storage are carried out.

In the context of the research project "Stop Wast - Save Food" numerous data were generated and insights were gained, which are now made publicly available in the "Guide Food - Packaging".

Contact: DI Gudrun Obersteiner