Frozen food industry targets packaging
Companies throughout the frozen food sector are teaming up to cut the amount of packaging used on their products - and pizzas and ready meals are set to be their first targets.
Working groups of suppliers, packers, retailers and brands are being set up to develop new packaging methods following a workshop organised by the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
The groups have identified hero products - including that UK favourite the ready meal - that will be the first they examine to try to reduce packaging.
Charlotte Henderson, WRAP retail initiative manager, said: 'Like all other parts of the food industry, frozen producers are getting to grips with meeting changing retailer and customer packaging requirements.
'Change isn't necessarily about altering your packaging material. It's just as important to ask how your current packaging can be improved or redesigned to make savings.'
Delegates at the BFFF workshop heard from companies such as Asda, Tryton Foods and Youngs about the steps they are already taking to reduce their packaging.
The event emphasised that not only could packaging redesign cut waste, but it could also reduce costs.
Following the event, Brian Young, BFFF director general, said the frozen food industry was committed to playing its part in reducing waste and CO2, and said this initiative was only part of this mission.
He said: 'Packaging is only the start. The industry has a major role to play in helping reduce food waste because freezing preserves and protects food for a long time, ensuring that more of it gets eaten and not thrown away.'
WRAP's research has shown that UK consumers throw away 6.7m tonnes of food every year, most of which could have been eaten.
The energy used to produce, package, transport and deliver this wasted food is equivalent to at least 15m tonnes of CO2 every year.
The proposals aim to find ways of increasing collection of waste household batteries to 25% of sales by 2012, rising to 45% by 2016, and prohibiting household batteries with high levels of cadmium.
Ministers also want clearer labelling which includes wheelie bin symbols, and a ban on disposal of industrial and automotive batteries in landfill or by incineration.