February 26, 2024

interpack 2023: The SAVE FOOD Initiative takes a visible stand against food waste

interpack, the world’s largest trade fair for processing and packaging, is again taking a visible stand against the world-wide waste of food from 04 to 10 May in Düsseldorf. Members and partners of the SAVE FOOD Initiative demonstrate how food can be safely processed and packaged, how its shelf life can be extended and how any food waste that occurs nevertheless can be sustainably repurposed. 

Globally, around 14 percent of food worth approx. 400 billion US dollars goes to waste on the way from harvesting to retail (FAO, 2019). At the same time, approximately another 17 percent are wasted at the retail and end consumer levels (UNEP, 2021). To reduce these numbers is the goal of the SAVE FOOD Initiative, which was founded in 2011 by Messe Düsseldorf, interpack and the World Food Organization FAO. The initiative brings together international organisations, food producers and packaging manufacturers.

To accomplish this, interpack 2023 is an important platform. At the trade fair, the SAVE FOOD booth in the North Entrance Area offers information about the initiative. The SAVE FOOD Highlight Route, on the other hand, bundles innovations in this area and the “Product Safety” theme day focuses on related results from studies as well as Best Practices.

SAVE FOOD Highlight Route

A round trip through the hall, filled with technologies against waste and loss: Several interpack exhibitors are members of the SAVE FOOD Initiative. The SAVE FOOD Highlight Route offers visitors an overview of current projects and products by participating members. Some of the topics, for example, are how to minimise losses of food during the filling process, how to achieve a reliable product inspection and high quality sealing, or how to avoid undesired contaminations. Also on display are highly sensitive detectors of foreign bodies for all critical control points of the production process, which serve to avoid call-backs and false ejections, as well as packaging solutions and machines which increase the shelf life of food. Among the participating exhibitors are IMA Industria Macchine Automatiche, Syntegon Technology, MULTIVAC, Ishida Europe, Theegarten-Pactec, Gerhard Schubert, FAWEMA, ULMA Packaging, Mettler-Toledo Garvens, ROTZINGER or Sealpac.

Further, many other exhibitors at interpack are presenting solutions for safe processing and packaging. The food industry is one of the top target groups among visitors to the trade fair, and thus the number of relevant offers is large. Food is focused inside Halls 5, 6, 11, 13 and 14 and the confectionery and baking areas are in Halls 1, 3, and 4. 

Start-ups also have shown interest in the topic. For example, keäksack in the VDMA Technologie Lounge in Hall 4 are presenting a craft beer produced from surplus bread. Another example is easy2cool in the Start-Up Zone in Hall 15, presenting sustainable insulating packaging for shipping fresh or frozen foods.

Research project with the BAU University 

Leftover materials from food production are generally disposed of. At the same time, there is an increasing demand for alternatives to plastic packaging. One sustainable option is to produce bio-based and compostable packaging from waste food or by-products of the food industry. This is the idea that is worked on by the SAVE FOOD Initiative together with the Bahçeşehir University (BAU) in Istanbul.

Over the last months, a total of 28 students have been testing different forms of approach. Two projects outdid the others. A kombucha scoby bio-wrap made of waste oranges and tea leaves for packaging dry foods has great potential and good chances to be put to practical use. Another team implemented the idea of packaging strawberries under a protective atmosphere using integrated nano wrap made from PLA and rice husks. The results will be presented by the university and the students in the forum “Spotlight Talks & Trends” on 9 May, at 14:30 h.

Product safety theme day

Product safety is a core function of packaging and one of the four Hot Topics at interpack. Today, the industry is already making an important contribution to reducing food waste. Information about current projects and innovations is available at the theme day for product safety in the lecture forum “Spotlight Talks & Trends” in the North Entrance Area. On 9 May, among other things there will be a lecture by the FAO in Europe and Central Asia about cooperations to fight the loss and waste of food, and an overview of best practices in the packaging industry by the WPO (World Packaging Organization). Fascinating innovations will also be presented by Ishida Europe Limited, Pilz and Mettler-Toledo.

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