Four sustainability initiatives set to improve the food industry

Date : 28 April 2021

Lucy Bellotti

Retail Analyst

Explore how the Netherlands’ Jumbo is set to reduce its plastic consumption, while Beverage Carton and the Environment (ACE) has announced a 10-year sustainability roadmap set to deliver sustainable packaging by 2030.

Meanwhile, Nomad Foods has partnered with the WWF to make an impact in the agricultural world and the UK’s Sainsbury’s has eliminated 18.5m plastic straws, replacing them with paper straws.

Jumbo’s new plastic initiative

Jumbo has introduced new packaging, which will reduce the amount of plastic used on products such as mushrooms, minced meat, amongst others, throughout spring. The new initiative will remove plastics trays from its private label minced meat products, replacing them with a plastic bag, which uses 70% less plastic per 500g pack. A plastic bag is used to maintain products’ freshness.

Olaf de Boer, Jumbo’s executive director for buying & merchandising, said, ‘We can make a big difference with these and other innovations in the field of packaging. It is increasingly possible to minimise the use of plastic’ and ‘we are participating in a pilot within the Plastic Pact to investigate how we can recycle food packaging even better. In this way, the knife cuts both ways: we are both reducing the amount of plastic waste and we are expanding the possibilities for recycling.’

Source: Jumbo

Beverage Carton and the Environment reveal ten-year roadmap

The alliance for Beverage Carton and the Environment (ACE) has outlined a roadmap that highlights its commitment to sustainable packaging.

Source: Beverage Carton

Source: Beverage Carton

The roadmap emphasises its key commitment to areas such as raw materials, forestry, climate, and recycling. The road map outlines key pledges it is aiming to undertake by 2030, which include:

  • Beverage cartons only made from renewable material and/or recycled content
  • Beverage carton producers use more fibres and less plastic
  • All materials used to produce beverage cartons meet the highest sustainability sourcing standards
  • The beverage carton forest supply chain increases carbon sequestration, enhances biodiversity and increases forest growth and enables the transformation towards decarbonisation
  • The beverage carton industry decarbonises its value chain in line with 1.5 degrees science-based target
  • Deliver the lowest carbon footprint packaging solution
  • 90% of all beverage cartons are collected for recycling and at least 70% of all beverage cartons are recycled
  • Beverage carton industry to comply with its stringent design for recyclability guidelines  

The group, which includes SIG Combibloc, BillerudKorsnäs, Elopak, Stora Enso and Tetra Pak, is committed to delivering sustainable packaging, which is renewable, climate positive and creates a circular economy.

Nomad Foods partners with WWF

Agriculture is one of the biggest drivers of climate change, which is why Nomad Food has partnered with the WWF to find agricultural solutions. The collaboration will focus on two projects including blueprints which can ‘increase food production through nature-positive farming practices’ and ‘measuring the impact of biodiversity at the farm level to target interventions to seek new ways of increasing pollinators.’

Stéfan Descheemaeker, Nomad Food’s CEO stated, ‘we are committed to sourcing 100% of our vegetables and potatoes through sustainable farming practices by 2025 with 77% of our own vegetables already verified as such.’

Sainsbury’s set to eliminate 18.5m plastic straws

Sainsbury’s announced it is set to remove plastics straws from its private label lunchbox juice cartons. The retailer will remove 18.5m plastics straw, which is the equivalent to saving 6.6 tonnes of plastic annually.

The removal of plastic straws from its private label juice cartons is the latest initiative implemented by the retailer as it aims to reduce plastic packaging by 50% by 2025. The straws will be replaced by recyclable paper straws. Furthermore, Sainsbury’s has already committed to:

  • Removing 290m loose produce plastic bags
  • Eliminating 216 tonnes of rigid plastic trays from tomatoes, courgettes, kiwis and baby corn
  • Abolishing 114 tonnes of plastic lids from cream pots
  • Removing 6,400 tonnes of black plastic, PVC and polystyrene from its private label packaging   

Claire Hughes, Sainsbury’s director of product and innovation stated its future developments, ‘will continue to work closely with suppliers, manufacturers, customers and other retailers to reduce the amount of single use plastic across the supply chain, whilst also investing in research and development of materials and technologies’.