Beyond the increasing simplicity of integrating reclosable packaging into production lines, another reason bakers may be interested in making the shift to resealability lies in the growing consumer demand for companies to show environmental responsibility. And a key way for any brand to reduce their carbon footprint is by decreasing food waste.

“A basic Kwik Lok is an infinitesimal amount of the cost of what that bread retails for, so it really comes down less to premium brand than it does to ‘do I want to keep that product fresh so we don’t have food waste?’” said Ron Cardey, senior vice president of customer engagement, Kwik Lok. “Food waste is a massive global problem, like 40% of the food in the US goes into the trash.”

Reclosable options eliminate that waste by allowing the consumer to use portions they are sure will still be fresh when they come back to the product. Aside from food waste, reclosable options are doing more with design by cutting back on plastic use and creating packaging with sustainable or recyclable materials.

Kwik Lok’s Eco-Lok uses up to 20% less plastic and generates up to 20% less greenhouse gas emissions, Mr. Cardey said, adding that these factors are what is relevant to consumers today.

“The two top trends in the category are sustainability and shelf life,” said Heather Chandler, president, Sealstrip. “Every day we get calls about our VerdeSeal technology that uses materials reducing carbon footprint and allowing for disposal in the same recycle stream as the package itself.”

She said that Sealstrip also plans to feature this recyclable packaging this September at PackExpo Las Vegas.

When a bakery makes efforts for environmental friendliness, they can think about more than the closure itself. There are options that consider the sustainability of the machines that make packaging reclosable as well.

“We addressed that years ago with the redesign of a machine using different types of motors to help conserve energy,” said Mitch Lindsey, senior sales account manager, Burford Corp. “It’s always something that’s in the mindset of the design of a machine.”

Reducing plastic in a closure may not seem significant, but these are the buying points consumers are demanding of companies as sustainability grows in priority for shoppers.

“Historically, the consumer has not played as significant of a role in packaging in the bakery as they will over the next five years, and I say that as we’re talking about sustainable packaging and more environmentally friendly packaging,” Mr. Cardey said. “I have a Gen-Z daughter, and that’s the generation that’s really going to drive sustainability to bakers. They’re going to start insisting on it, and they’re going to vote with their dollars. They’re going to buy from those companies that demonstrate that they are walking the walk and not just talking the talk.”

This article is an excerpt from the August 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Reclosability, click here.