Food packaging costs could impact supply chainCompanies that aim to have proper supply chain optimization policies are well-aware of the need to cut costs to remain competitive and efficient. This can separate strong supply chains from those that are weaker and have a significant impact on a company's bottom line, especially for food companies using plenty of packaging to store products.

Potential cost reductions
Food and beverage supply chain costs appear to be on the rise, according to top companies in the industry. These appear to be related to increasing packaging material expenses that make their way across the supply chain.

"The greatest concerns today in F&B packaging is managing the increasing cost challenges across the supply chain due to packing material and involved processes," said Bimal Lakhotia, national head of packaging development and commercialization for Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages.

Some companies are looking to advance the packaging they use to cut expenses and use fewer natural resources. Many businesses have aimed to cut waste associated with their brands, and limiting the amount of plastic, cardboard and metal can help a firm boost its reputation with the environmentally concerned as well as incur fewer bills for the procurement of such packaging material. Successful implementation of new packages and processes can result in significant cost savings and ensure a company isn't wasting its funds to use unnecessary wrapping or seals.

"The latest trends in flexibles and rigids would be in active and intelligent packaging with sustainability focus," said C.S. Purushothaman, chair professor and director at SIES School of Packaging. "Some of them are in flexible edible films, life extending packs with embedded nano materials, oxygen and ethylene oxide scavengers as packaging components. In rigids there may not be so much push as sustainability is the word of the day. Hence keeping the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in mind, flexibles will be preferred."

Waste prevalent through supply chain
Packaging itself can contribute to waste in the form of paper or plastic, but excessive or unnecessary wrappings can also lead to actual food waste in the supply chain, increasing costs for both businesses and consumers.

A report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) revealed as much as half of the food produced on the planet is wasted annually. While some of this is due to overly strict supermarket standards for produce and fresh food, some is a result of excess packaging that could cause food to expire before it is ever eaten.

The IMechE included suggestions with its report that aim to cut back on such waste, one of which encouraged companies and governments to use waste-oriented thinking as they develop cost savings solutions in regard to transit, packaging and food storage practices.
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