How Packaging Reduces Food Waste

Think about the last time you purchased packaged food from the grocery store and it went bad before you could eat it.

Frustrating, right?

Not only that, but you paid for something that you didn’t eat.  The cost of the product included the food itself, labeling, packaging, labor, and freight, all to have it tossed due to an expiration date. Plus, it goes into a landfill.  So, how can you reduce your footprint?


  • Have a system in place for recycling of packaging. The environmental impact of increased packaging can also be limited compared to impact of food waste.
  • Packaging facilitates distribution of products but can also help reduce/prevent food waste.
  • Case ready packaging can extend shelf life, which reduces retail shrink and food waste leading to overall impact. (3)

Proper Packaging adds Shelf Life

A recent study evaluated the shelf life of two varieties of apples in Kashmir Valley, under different packaging treatments and storage conditions.

Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples were packed through five different packaging techniques viz., Shrink packaging (P1), Vacuum packaging (P2), Polythene film packaging (P3), Polythene film packaging with KMnO4 (Ethylene absorbent) (P4) and CBC packaging (Control).

All the packaging treatments under both the varieties were kept under ambient and cold chamber storage conditions for eight months for their quality evaluation. The quality of the sample was determined based on weight, volume, firmness, TSS, acidity, sugar content and vitamin C.

The results of the study revealed that vacuum packaging gave the best results in terms of all the response parameters under both the storage conditions and for both the varieties of apples. (2)

Conclusion on Generating Results to Reduce Food Waste Through Proper Packaging

  1. Educate the consumer on food waste and the importance of purchasing packaging that extends shelf life.
  2. Manufacture and use of new and innovative packaging
  3. Partner with others with broad engagements across the value chain. (3)


1 Irmelin Gram Hanssen,Researcher Ostfold Research (Norway) Food Waste and Packaging
2 Extension of storage and shelf-life of apple with packaging methods. Shahzad Faisal; Yogesh Pandey; Shukla, R. M.
3 Reducing Wasted Food: How Packaging Can Help
Ron Cotterman, VP, Sustainability Sealed Air Corporation May 19, 2015