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Packaging solutions need to be put to the test

Liz Gyekye, 30 March 2011

Campden BRI is urging retailers and food manufacturers to ensure they carry out stringent tests on materials used for packaging to ensure they are fit for purpose and avoid product waste.

The food and drink research organization said that failure to properly test packaging and put it through its paces could cost the food and drink industry “more in terms of wasted product, reduced profits and an adverse impact on the environment.

Alan Campbell, Campden BRI’s Packaging Manager, said: “Courtauld Commitment 2 has moved the packaging waste issue away from solely weight-based targets to encourage the industry to achieve more sustainable use of resources over the entire lifecycle of products, throughout the whole supply chain.

“The aim is to achieve a 10% reduction in the carbon impact of packaging by 2012 by decreasing packaging weight, boosting recycling rates and increasing the recycled content of all grocery packaging – where it is appropriate to do so.

“While the industry has made significant steps to reduce packaging  including measures such as light-weighting, it is important that any new packaging solutions are stringently tested to ensure packs can withstand the rigours of production, distribution and storage, as well as the demands consumers place on them.”

Campden BRI is urging firms to ensure that the technical properties of materials used for packaging are fit for purpose. Campbell said: “When it comes to reducing the environmental impact of packaging waste, the solution is not to simply just use the minimum amount of packaging – this could be counterproductive and is not necessarily the most sustainable approach.”

Campden BRI has a range of facilities for packaging analysis including strength and integrity testing as well as migration testing and both chemical and sensory taint analysis capabilities.

In order to help manufacturers and retailers, the research organisation has produced a series of videos providing information on the objective tests available for assessing the physical suitability of packaging materials and ensuring packaging is appropriate and fit for purpose.

Campbell said: “As manufacturers and retailers strive to meet requirements for packaging reduction and satisfy consumer concerns about the environment, the need for testing of packaging solutions is only going to grow to guarantee products reach the consumer safely, securely and with minimal environmental impact.”

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