When thinking about packaging, it is good to remember that one of the main functions of packaging is to reduce waste. Optimal packaging is essential for contributing to a better environment. For example, throwing away just one slice of bread causes a bigger carbon footprint than producing the bread packaging.
It is not possible to name any unequivocally good or bad packaging materials, since the intended use determines the optimal packaging of a product. The main function of packaging is to protect the product and get it to the consumer in good condition. In addition, packaging contains product information and makes it easier to use and handle the product.
The share of packaging in the environmental load of a product is about 2−5 per cent.
For us, packaging choices are based on studying the entire value chain of packaging from raw materials to the share of reusable packaging waste. 99 per cent of Fazer’s packaging materials can be recycled, refilled or used in energy production. Responsible packaging also means that we help consumers do their part in reducing packaging waste by providing them with information about recycling and reuse of packages.
Optimised packaging for a sustainable future
The amount of waste can be reduced by studying consumer behaviour and designing packages suited for the consumers’ needs and the products’ intended use. The right packaging materials and structure also protect the product from damage and spoilage.
The share of packaging in the total environmental load of a product, such as bread, is about 2−5 per cent. According to a 2013 study by Agrifood Research Finland, a right size package that protects the food contributes towards the whole food being used, which reduces the product’s overall environmental impact.
During the past two decades, we have carried out several packaging optimisation projects. We have, for example, revised package measurements and studied the use of thinner materials and new structure designs that require less material.
Responsible packaging is the sum of its value chain
When selecting a responsible packaging, the first thing we do is to make sure that the raw materials are produced responsibly and in compliance with appropriate laws. The packaging must be manufactured efficiently.
The packaging process and distribution of a product form an integral part of the value chain of responsible packaging. The packages must be functional and easy to handle and use by store and restaurant personnel, while the design and size of packaging should be fitted to meet consumers’ different needs.
Researching packaging and different methods for decreasing their environmental impact is part of Fazer’s corporate responsibility work. With the help of our research findings and other related information, we have been able to develop our packaging and reduce its environmental impact.
Recyclable and biodegradable packaging materials
We try to use recyclable and biodegradable packaging materials whenever their quality and properties meet the requirements of our customers and Fazer standards.
There are some challenges using biomaterials in food packaging. Not many materials are food-grade or durable enough to protect the products during transportation. New materials are, however, constantly being developed and some are also being tested in our production. The process is lengthy, because whenever new biomaterials are identified, the environmental efficiency of the entire production chain must be verified.
The most important product information is always printed on the product’s packaging. The required quantity and quality of product information on the packaging is determined by law and varies from country to country.
Information about our products is also available on Fazer’s website and from our Bakeries & Confectionery customer service.
Recycling symbols on packages
We want to help consumers to make informed choices regarding food. In addition to information about the origin and nutritional value of the food they purchase, we want to give consumers information about the packaging materials and their recycling options. An important step will be adding recycling symbols by the end of the year 2014 on all our packages, except on a few packages where there´s not enough space.