Plastic packaging in the natural sector is down 24.2%.

Grandma’s advice of “Waste not, want not” rings ever true in 2018, as food and packaging waste are top-of-mind issues among many in the food chain.


In recent months, news stories have emerged about plastic pieces found inside fish and of oceans filled with plastic waste. According to findings from an industrial ecologist at the University of California-Santa Barbara, 9.1 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced, with 6.9 billion tonnes ending up as plastic waste and 5.4 billion tonnes discarded in a landfill or the environment.


Concerns about packaging waste are resonating with consumers. According to a 2018 trend prediction report from Chicago-based consumer insights, analytics reporting and consulting firm SPINS, “Passing on Plastic” is set to be a major movement this year. In addition to rethinking food waste, consumers are becoming more aware of reusable and biodegradable food storage solutions to replace plastics. Accordingly, says SPINS, some companies offer innovative alternatives, such as Beeswrap — which produces bread wraps made from beeswax.


“Environmental concerns will drive innovation in packaging,” said Kimberly Kawa, senior nutrition researchers and insights lead at SPINS. “Consumers are paying attention to packaging and storage solutions, driving biodegradable, recyclable and compostable options.”


While sales of plastic packages in the snack category are maintaining level growth at 0.4%, plastic packaging in general in the natural sector is down 24.2%.


“SPINS predicts that in 2018, more and more brands will eschew plastic packaging,” Ms. Kawa said


Another trend report underscores consumer interest in cutting down on waste. Market research firm Mintel reported in December 2017 that packaging will play a key role in reducing food and product waste in 2018, “The throwaway culture of today will evolve into one that understands and embraces the role of packaging as a primary means to reduce global food and product waste.”


Packaging distributor Nashville Wraps offers several styles and sizes of eco-friendly bakery boxes. Tipa, a sustainable packaging company, offers biodegradable packaging, including films for bakery products and laminate items for snacks like granola bars and potato chips.


Mintel’s researchers say that eco-minded consumers will spur more changes in packaging of food products, including bakery and snack items.


“Brands will need to act fast by exploiting on-pack communication tools to educate consumers to the benefits packaging can bring, from extending shelf life of food to providing efficient and safe access to essential products in developed and underserved regions of the world,” the report stated.