Science & Innovation in

Dick Searle
Chief Executive
The Packaging Federation


protect and preserve  But it’s also a Primary Mechanism for Branding  It’s very visible but little understood by consumers  But its environmental impact is much.The “Inconvenient Truths” of Packaging  Packaging only exists because products exist  First & foremost it’s a Delivery System for Products  Its Primary Role is to contain. much less than that of the damage that would arise without it  And…Modern Society couldn’t function without it!! 2 .

‘So why is there so much Packaging?’  Demand for Packaging is created solely by the demand for the products that it contains  Consumers expect to have everything available 24/7 – only possible with modern packaging  Political & Media focus on packaging seems to be driven by what consumers see in their bins  And yet it’s consumer demand only that puts it there – wonderful “disconnect”!  It’s an inevitable and necessary feature of modern living  And yet its existence is consistently attacked 3 .

So What About The Future?  The World faces an unprecedented challenge to feed itself  Global warming is expected to substantially reduce the availability of land for growing food  Increased productivity and waste prevention at all stages will be absolutely key – and not just in developing countries  Modern packaging and distribution systems will play an inevitable and unavoidable role in this  Current supply chain losses of 40-50% in less developed countries are unacceptable (vs estimated <5% in the UK)  Packaging and the science and innovation that drives its development and existence is ready to meet the challenge 4 .

The Role of Science & Innovation  Warmly welcome packaging being viewed on the basis of science – not politics and media myths  Could start by addressing contents of Food 2030 – only addresses packaging in the context of reducing it!  And “making more of our essential packaging recyclable” – so what about “meat packaging”?!  One plus from all the UK attention on packaging is that our industry leads the world in packaging innovation  Whilst science is important. its application in innovative products has been the huge driver in the last few decades  Enabled fundamental changes in product offerings and retail methodology 5 .

H&C) Almost no supermarkets Most products sold loose – queues/hygiene Home deliveries of milk. Maypole.Look Back to the Fifties……..        Shopping was a daily exercise Grocers shops (Liptons. bread…even ‘pop’ Range was limited and fresh food seasonal Convenience foods almost unheard of 6 .

And Now in the “Teenies”…  Consumption has increased dramatically  Supermarkets are everywhere  Shopping is mostly a weekly excursion with intermediate “top-ups”  Range and choice are huge  Products available all year round  Convenience is ‘everything’  And it’s this consumer demand for goods that drives demand for the packaging around it 7 .

And so….  Packaging is the ‘enabler’ for shopping as we know it today – supermarkets could not exist without it  Product wastage in the supply chain is now minimal  Product presentation and information are key  Brands are mostly defined by their Packaging  Many markets owe their existence to developments in packaging 8 .

All of these developed since the 50’s          Lightweight one-trip glass bottles Easy-open lightweight beverage and food cans Plastic bottles and tubes PET bottles Flexible packaging sachets and pouches Plastic films Child resistant packaging Liquid packaging cartons Aseptic packaging 9 .

..           Ovenable packaging Modified atmosphere packaging Frozen food packaging Microwaveable packaging Chilled food packaging Aerosols for toiletries & household products Plastics pots for almost everything Multiple packaging – board and plastics Shelf ready packaging Pharmacuetical & medical packaging 10 .And these!.

Let’s just remind ourselves what “masters” packaging has to satisfy Demands of the product Demands of: Consumer Retailer Secondary packaging Primary packaging PRODUCT Marketer Demands of: Production Distribution Storage Demands of legislation and ‘environment’ 11 .

convenience and pack information  Provided the platform for product branding and identification 12 . hygiene.So what has the Packaging Industry done?  Developed a fantastic range of new products  Enabled a huge change in the way we shop  Facilitated the reduction in food waste in the supply chain to ca. 3%  Lightweighted packaging across the board  Achieved the decoupling of GDP growth from the increase in packaging used  Given consumers product protection.

and way less than the damage it saves  Huge progress in recycling in last few years – over 60% now recycled – again mid-table in EU  Good recycling needs a better waste stream  Further progress requires ‘joined-up thinking’  Energy from waste must be taken seriously 13 .And some real facts about it  UK “consumption” is mid-table in EU  3% of landfill and 18% of household waste  Carbon footprint less than 2% .

Consumer Attitudes  Packaging responds to the needs of modern lifestyles and consumer demand – 24/7  Consumer concern about the environment is real but is it well informed?  Are the messages right? – packaging vs global warming  Should all packaging be recyclable?  Do they understand that packaging is “only” the delivery system for the products that they demand?  Do consumers really want a return to the shopping regimes of yesteryear – lack of choice and even rationing  And what about what they say……as opposed to what they actually do!  And what about food waste in the home 14 .

starting with their own employees!  Ambassadors for packaging – how much would you sell without it?  “Packaging in Perspective”  ours!  Knowledge of the real facts about packaging is very limited  “Recycling more important than reduced car use”  Whole supply chain (INCLUDING THE FOOD & DRINK INDUSTRY) needs to do much more….Consumer “Education”….html 15 .uk/factsheets.

car use Time for honesty and recognition of the absolute need for modern packaging if the world’s food challenges are to be overcome  Time for the “Appliance of Science” to actions on the real environmental challenges  For instance….g.household food waste has at least 15 times more environmental impact than packaging waste     16 . plastic bags) Consumers’ carbon “footprint” – 40%! What are the real issues e.The Messages from Government Totemic issues….(e.g...

And some “reminders” from us  Packaging is <3% of landfill  Global carbon footprint of packaging including disposal is >2% and it saves far more carbon by wastage reduction than it uses  And what would the footprint be without it!  There’s ten times more energy & materials in products than in the packaging around them  The energy content of one day’s packaging is equal to ONE MILE driven in the car !!  AVOIDABLE food waste in the bin has more than FIFTEEN times the impact of packaging waste 17 .

. it needs the scientific and innovative skills of the packaging industry to succeed  So please let us get on with the job 18 . In Conclusion  Modern demand needs modern packaging  Without it we’re back to the 50’s – with no supermarkets.And so…. restricted choice and vast increases in wastage  And the impact on the food and drink industry and its customers would be dramatic  At a time when the world faces dramatic challenges on the sustainability and development of its food supply.