New funding scheme for food packaging innovation

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food, Recycling

Food manufacturers are invited to take part in a project aimed at waste reduction through innovation in food packaging technology, claims the UK's Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

WRAP said that a tender process is underway, whereby initiatives from the food manufacturing sector focusing on reusable and refillable packaging, new merchandising and dispensing systems or product reformulation will receive funding for up to 50 per cent of the project costs. WRAP is a government-backed programme charged with ensuring that the UK meets EU requirements on reducing waste throughout the bloc. The agency estimates that 5.2 million tonnes of food related packaging waste and 6.7 million tonnes of food waste are disposed of within UK homes each year. A different approach​ The WRAP initiative follows closely on the heels of the UK government's Food Matters report, which was published yesterday and calls for action in the form of innovative technology to reduce produce packaging and the burden it is placing on the environment. "Our initiative is closely aligned with the government's strategy on food and we aim to work in partnership with the food manufacturing sector to look at ways of how we can do things differently,"​ WRAP retail initiative manager Charlotte Henderson told FoodProductionDaily.com. "The funding scheme helps remove the financial risk for companies wishing to improve their environmental credentials,"​ added Henderson. She said that as WRAP's retail team has built up considerable experience from work on previous campaigns, it can provide technical expertise to successful partnerships where appropriate. Measurable results"International companies are also invited to submit tender proposals provided they can demonstrate that their packaging or merchandising innovation will have a measurable impact on food packaging reduction in the UK,"​ added Henderson. Henderson said that the WRAP funded GlassRite Wine project, which was managed by British glass, is a large-scale demonstration of the opportunities which can arise from a reduction in packaging through lightweighting. Glass packaging has been reduced by 11,400 tonnes per year as a result of wine being bottled in lighter weight bottles, with more than 350 different wine label bottles lightweighted during the project, according to WRAP. "Innovations such as the vacuum packaging of meat to cut out conventional one-size-fits-all thermoformed tray pack usage is a step change towards lowering the carbon footprint of processors as it not only cuts down on material but also lowers distribution costs by enabling more units per truck per journey",​ claims Henderson. She said that product reformulation proposals such as doubling the concentration of juice to reduce bottle size or refillable packaging solutions for milk and coffee can have a huge impact. Brand growth​ The scheme affords an opportunity for partners to build on brand values, according to Henderson, as WRAP lists companies at the forefront of cutting edge environmental and economical best practice on the Recycle Now section of its website, which is targeted at consumers. "Successful projects can add value throughout the food supply chain and, can enable food manufacturers to respond to the growing demands from consumers for a greater green focus from industry,"​ claims Henderson. The deadline for submissions is 12.30pm on September 16. Further details are available at www.wrap.org.uk/wrap_corporate/tenders/index.html

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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