Exploring the latest trends in sustainable packaging and cutting-edge concepts

15 Jun 2023

Food wrappers are one of the top items of single-use plastics polluting our oceans. But also food waste is posing a large environmental threat: over 30% of food is wasted each year worldwide. No wonder these are the largest focus areas for product innovation in food packaging. Consumers are well aware of these statistics too, our latest worldwide Taste Tomorrow consumer research shows:

Consumers are looking for products/companies that do more to preserve the environment through…

  • Products sold in sustainable packaging - 70% 

  • Zero-waste claims - 61% 

Curious how these developments will influence the packaging of bread, cakes and fine patisserie a few years from now? The four packaging innovations below are giving us a glimpse into the future.

More demand for prepackaged bread & pastry

The number of consumers who buy their cakes and buns at the supermarket or convenience store is growing. Globally, 42% of consumers buy bread at the supermarket at least once a week and 23% shop at convenience stores, our consumer survey showed. For patisserie, the numbers are similar, with 31% of people buying treats at the supermarket weekly and 20% opting for a convenience store. The products sold here are often prepackaged, which makes the need for eco-friendly food packaging increasingly important.

No wonder the global sustainable food packaging market is on the rise. This market – containing products such as compostable packaging, recyclable packaging and biodegradable packaging – is expected to grow from 196 billion US dollar in 2021 to 280 billion dollar in 2026


What might bakery & pastry packaging soon look like? Here are some innovative concepts:

Avocadoseed packaging

The Mexican-based company Biofase has come up with a bioplastic alternative to replace polystyrene, polypropylene, and polyethylene. For their straws, cutlery and to-go containers, they use a rather large waste stream in Mexico: avocado pits. These seeds make up 60% of the bioplastic, the other 40% consists of synthetic organic compounds. The single-use items made by Biofase can biodegrade on land or in any landfill.



Plastic-free with fungi

The Israeli start-up MadeRight hits two birds with one stone. Not only does it create eco-friendly packaging made of mycelium, but they use difficult organic waste streams to grow those fungi on. A living organism, which is incredibly fast-growing, available all year round and adaptable to all climates. MadeRight already won the Unilever Sustainable Challenge Award for their plastic alternative. Contrary to what you might think, their biomaterial is durable and has a long shelf life. So it is suitable for long-lasting foods, but also beauty products and other consumer goods.


No more green, hairy bread

We’ve all been there: just as you want to make yourself a nice sandwich, you spot a small patch of green mold on your bread. SoFresh has come up with a solution to prevent this type of food waste. Their film and containers are enhanced with organic ingredients that prevent food products from spoiling. The packaging emits an active vapor that slows down the metabolism of mold spores, so it becomes difficult for them to thrive. The vapor is a food extract which is safe for humans and works well on foods such as bread, cheese and berries. This type of active packaging helps to elongate the shelf life of baked goods. 


Packaging that tells you when food is at its prime

With pears, it is often difficult to determine when it is best to eat them. One minute they are too hard, the next the fruit is overripe. The RipeSense intelligent sensor label brings an end to that frustration. The color-changing indicator communicates the ripeness of fruit inside the package. The sensor reacts to the aromas released by the fruit as it ripens, changing from red to orange and finally yellow. The sensor helps customers to select the right package in the supermarket, but also when to consume their fruit. This way, less fruit ends up in the landfill and customer satisfaction goes up. The product is now available for pears, mangos and avocados, but the same intelligent packaging technology can be applied to a multitude of products.



“It is important to thoroughly understand the downstream processing of packaging”

Tim van Caelenberg, Packaging Lead at Puratos, follows the discussion around sustainable packaging choices very closely. In this interview, he explains why sustainable food packaging development is much broader than just plastic elimination and replacement.

Taste Tomorrow

Taste Tomorrow is the world’s largest ecosystem for consumer understanding in bakery, patisserie and chocolate. By tracking local and global consumer behaviors, attitudes and choices it provides us with valuable, in-depth insights. We are able to use these insights to track the evolution of trends and reveal new ones, helping your business to stay connected to your customers and discover new opportunities.

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