Intuitive packaging that minimizes meals waste

Nerida Kelton

The most innovative and intuitive save food packaging uses design features that contain and protect, preserve, extend shelf life, can be easily opened and reclosed, consumer convenience and portion control; At the same time, the global goals for sustainable packaging are achieved.

By Nerida Kelton, Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Packaging.

Package design options to minimize food waste can include better simplification or communication on portion control, date marking, shelf life extension, protection, resealability and opening, portion size, food safety / freshness information, storage options information, and improved communication on packs.

Two outstanding packaging recently recognized in the Save Food Packaging Design 2021 category at the PIDA Awards were Junee Lamb for Agriculture and Edgell Supa Crunch for Food Service.

Junee Lamb (Junee Lamb and Sealed Air for Total Bone Guard of the CRYOVAC brand)

Junee Lamb

Meat products that end up in landfills contribute over 20% of the carbon footprint of all food waste. Another problem with meat products is leaky packaging, which causes unnecessary food and water waste. Products shipped by Junee Lamb reached the next point in the supply chain damaged and reports of non-conformities showed lamb wrapped in previous shrink bags was failing and generating food waste on the order of 4,300 kg per week. Even in the previous packs, the significant amount of water required to make the defective product was wasted. Junee Lamb's move to CRYOVAC TBG ended leaky packs, food and water waste.

The vacuum shrink barrier bags are designed to have a significant shelf life of 90 days. This is particularly important for the export market, where a long refrigerated shelf life is required. The design offers high puncture, tear and abrasion resistance, high oxygen barrier properties and integrated bone protection in the areas that need it most. By identifying the areas of the pouch that are at risk of puncture / abuse (based on the packaged cut), the bone protector can be specifically positioned on the pouch to protect those areas. The 150 µm bone protection plaster ensures efficient use of materials and at the same time offers maximum protection and durability. The lamb will withstand the rigors of production, storage and distribution better and that means less waste. In this B2B application, several (up to six) pieces of meat are packed in CRYOVAC TBG vacuum shrink barrier bags, resulting in a better product-to-packaging ratio and a reduction in the amount of packaging. The bag is compliant with the Australasian Recycling Logo (ARL) and can be recycled through collection programs for soft plastics.

Edgell Supa Crunch

Edgell Supa Crunch (Simplot Australia) for gastronomy

To meet the demands of the foodservice channel, Simplot has developed Edgell Supa Crunch, a new chip that stays crispy for up to 40 minutes during the demanding delivery process.

To add and maintain the crispness during delivery, Simplot has developed an innovative and sustainable package that has a raised and ventilated base and just the right amount of ventilation on the sides and top to allow steam condensate to escape while retaining heat.

This pack uses the stacking effect, in which air is sucked into the box at the bottom and then vented at the top of the box so that moisture-filled air can rise from the chips and escape. The relatively flat cardboard box is designed in such a way that the chips can be distributed so that they do not lie on top of each other. The one-way vent that the stacking effect promotes works well at balancing out heat retention and moisture evacuation, and promotes quality for food delivery.

The packaging of the product provides instructions on how to use and effectively extend the life of the chips so that they stay hot and crispy and therefore not wasted. This product is designed to extend the life of the product by keeping the product crispy and hot. If the customer finds that the product has cooled too much, the packaging has been designed so that it can be reheated in the microwave for 20 seconds.

The packaging has been designed with tamper-evident security for product safety and is stackable, which enables easier distribution of bulk goods and reduces the risk of crushing. The board is fully recyclable, FSC certified and has been optimized to reduce board consumption.

The National Food Waste Strategy, which aims to halve all food waste that ends up in landfills by 2030, provides a framework for joint action across the ecosystem.

Packaging technologists have the ability to minimize food waste right from the start by incorporating the AIP Save Food Packaging Design guidelines into their NPD process.

Marketers can highlight the SFP design features as a differentiator and signal to the consumer that the brand is actively trying to minimize food waste from the paddock to the plate.

Embedding Save Food Packaging's design features into the NPD phase ultimately reduces the overall environmental impact of the product at the beginning of the value chain, thereby minimizing household food waste.

Australia's first Industry Insight Reports for the safe design of food packaging

To embed Save Food Packaging Design in businesses, we first need to understand whether manufacturers consider food waste and loss, how packaging technologists design food packaging, whether marketing ensures that communication on the packaging delivers the best message to consumers, and what the barriers are . Implement SFP strategies.

As a key participant in the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Center, the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) Save Food Packaging Design project has published two industry insights that will help lay the foundations for current design practice and one Way forward to pave areas of improvement. The two reports are called:

  1. Industry Insights Report: Stakeholder online survey on product packaging design processes
  2. Industry Insights Report: Stakeholder interviews on product packaging design processes

These reports represent the current landscape of the food and packaging industry in terms of perceptions and practices of food waste and save food packaging.

The two research reports are available on the AIP website:


About Nerida Kelton MAIP

Nerida Kelton has worked in the packaging industry for more than 23 years and is Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Packaging, Australasia's premier packaging education and training professional body. Nerida has a passion for sustainable and circular packaging design and the "Save Food Packaging Design" movement is the steering committee of the National Food Waste Strategy of the Environment. She invests her time educating the industry about the important role packaging plays in minimizing food waste and how the design of "Save Food Packaging" can make a difference.

Via the Australian Institute of Packaging

The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) is Australasia's premier packaging education and training organization helping shape the careers of generations of packaging professionals, from packaging technologists to international packaging executives, along with a wide variety of people in related disciplines such as Sales and marketing, purchasing, production and the environment.

The AIP was founded in 1963 in response to the need for packaging technologists to interact with one another and provide professional identities to individuals within the packaging industry. AIP has been in the industry for more than 55 years and is the only professional organization designed to provide professional and personal development at all levels of the packaging industry.

Leave a comment