It is estimated that around 30 per cent of the food produced globally is wasted. This shocking figure can be roughly divided across two categories: food loss in primary production, processing and logistics, i.e. getting the food from the field to the stores, and food waste in retail and at homes. The former is more common in developing countries and is often due to insufficient packaging. The latter is a problem more common in developed countries, where completely edible food is all too often thrown out.
When looking at the food wasted, it is easy to understand that well-designed packaging plays an important role in protecting food throughout the value chain, from the packing industry to the consumer.
The challenging role of packaging
“The hygiene requirements for food are strict throughout the production chain, and the packaging must meet the tough demands presented by moisture, cold, grease and light. Strong packaging helps the contents stay intact throughout the logistics chain,” says Soili Hietanen
, VP of Metsä Board’s sustainability and energy.
Transported food must often withstand not just the stresses of road transportation, but also humid conditions during sea transport. Picking and handling at the logistics centres, being palletised or stacked in roller cages – the list of challenges is long, and at the end of the journey, the packaging still needs to attract the consumer and be easy to recycle.
Completely traceable paperboard
Safe food is one of the greatest necessities of everyday life. “Metsä Board uses only pure fresh fibres and has a strictly controlled production process. This is how we ensure that the paperboard delivered to our customers has no harmful substances. Traceability of all raw materials is essential in ensuring product safety,” Hietanen explains.
Let’s take a further step back in the value chain. The main raw material of Metsä Board’s paperboard is 100% traceable wood from northern European sustainably managed forests. In these forests wood grows more than it is used. The trees grow naturally without watering; rainfall is enough for them.
“Moreover, Metsä Board's mills are located in Finland and Sweden, areas that are rich with water. The production does not impact the local water sufficiency. Another fact is that forests do not take any land area away from agriculture. Traditionally agriculture and forestry in these societies go hand in hand as farmers are often also forest owners,” Hietanen explains.
Efficient use of water and sustainable forest management are starting points for more stories. You can find them here:
Making the most of water
Impressing by numbers
The United Nations has set Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs in short – that are jointly agreed large-scale global commitments. They determine the targets and actions for world's development for the next 15 years. Also Metsä Board's operations support these goals. In this article series you can read about the targets that are most linked to Metsä Board.
Read also how Metsä Group's activities support reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals.