Home » World Food Day » How better packaging can make food systems more resilient

Phillip Hanefeld

SVP Innovation and Research & Development, Stora Enso

Better packaging can play a part in strengthening the resilience of our fragile food systems. A new report has a range of suggestions highlighting how this could work in practice.

The world relies on food systems to drive prosperity and drastically reduce undernutrition and hunger. Recently, however, it’s become glaringly apparent that these same systems are fragile and vulnerable to external shocks. The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have increased food insecurity worldwide while climate change and biodiversity loss pose a growing threat to food production.

Challenges in food production and consumption

Renewable materials company Stora Enso believes that addressing these shortfalls requires a radical change to the way we produce and consume food, and all parties in the food value chain have a role to play. To that end, it has published a new report — called Food packaging for better food systems — which highlights 4 areas and 13 impact opportunities where packaging can play a part in strengthening food system resilience.

These include packaging solutions with optimised design and smart technologies to promote a healthy diet; well-designed packaging that can increase consumer awareness of how to reduce food loss and waste; and recycling and reusing packaging — and using alternative packaging materials — to protect and restore land and reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans.

To achieve greater food systems sustainability, we need to adopt a holistic approach to solve more than agricultural and production challenges.

Collaboration is the key to making lasting change a reality

This is moving beyond ‘responsible packaging,’ insists Phillip Hanefeld, SVP, Innovation and Research & Development at Stora Enso. It’s about embracing new solutions and making a seismic shift in behaviour and business models. “To achieve greater food systems sustainability, we need to adopt a holistic approach to solve more than agricultural and production challenges,” he says.

“It is critical to consider how other factors, like packaging, can help with this task. Food systems sustainability is a driver for packaging innovation at Stora Enso where we explore how to limit food waste, reduce raw material usage, and enhance packaging circularity — all in close collaboration with our customers.”

Indeed, ‘collaboration’ is the operative word when it comes to making lasting change in this area, Hanefeld admits. “We’re hopeful that the information (in the report) will spark and deepen the much-needed collaboration among stakeholders to optimise the use of our collective resources and make our proposals a reality,” he says.

Next article