New packaging to reduce food waste

Danish researchers working on solution that could save society millions

Every year, some 700,000 tonnes of edible food are thrown out in Denmark. Now, Danish researchers are developing a new active, intelligent packaging that will ensure fruit and vegetables keep for longer on supermarket shelves and in the public’s refrigerators.

Researchers from the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) – in co-operation with Aarhus University and a number of food product and packaging companies – are working on better ways to package food products, thus optimising their shelf life.

“There is a lot of money to be saved for consumers and the retail business if we can extend the durability of our food products by packaging them in more intelligent ways,” said the environment and food minister, Esben Lunde Larsen.

“Furthermore, the new packaging can benefit the climate in terms of reduced CO2 emissions. It’s important we support efforts that help reduce food waste and improve the environment.”

READ MORE: Copenhagen’s first packaging-free shop opens

LØS waste, more benefits
One of the problems with today’s packaging is that it is tightly enclosed around the food in order to keep items in place. However, the practice offers good conditions for micro-organisms that ultimately destroy the products.

The project is expected to save around 244 million kroner in food waste and reduce CO2 emissions by 24,500 tonnes annually. The Environment and Food Ministry has supported the project with about 3.5 million kroner.

Food waste is very much on the agenda in Denmark at the moment.

LØS Market – the capital’s first packaging-free grocery store – is due to open in Copenhagen on September 3.

Located at Saxogade 77 in Vesterbro, it will sell over 400 organic products in bulk without packaging. Customers will be able to buy the exact amount of food they want from specially-designed dispensers.