Tetra Pak has unveiled findings from its global research study, in partnership with Ipsos, showing that food safety is a major issue for society. The same number of respondents believe that COVID-19 is a ‘real threat’ and at the same time, concern for the environment remains strikingly powerful, pointing towards a dilemma in consumers’ minds as they try to balance the critical priorities of human existence through safe food and sustainability of the planet we live on.
The Tetra Pak Index, in its 13th edition, has seen a 10 percent increase in global concern about food safety and future food supplies. In addition, more than 50 percent of consumers not only believe that improving food safety is the responsibility of manufacturers, they see it as the number one issue that companies need to tackle now and in the future.
According to this year’s research, health is deeply connected to heightened issues of food safety and hygiene: with two-thirds of consumers saying that being healthy is being safe and 60 percent of consumers globally saying they worry about the food they buy being hygienic and safe.
When asked what is key for them in a package, consumers indicated that ensuring food safety is its main purpose. They also expressed concerns about environmental innovations in packaging impacting food safety, even though most respondents indicated ‘using sustainable packaging’ as one of the top issues food and beverage brands need to tackle – today and tomorrow.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the status quo, accelerated trends and created a new landscape of consumer needs and opportunities for companies to build on. In particular, the industry needs to address the growing dilemma around food safety and the environment, stepping up towards the twin goals of meeting the human need for food while protecting our planet’s ecosystem. This is where food packaging can play a strong role in bringing about harmony,” commented Adolfo Orive, President and CEO, Tetra Pak.
“Working closely with our customers and stakeholders, we are already on a journey to create the ultimate sustainable food package - a carton package that is made solely from responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials, is fully recyclable and carbon-neutral, allowing ambient distribution and meeting food safety requirements. We see this as a critical step in building a sustainable future for the next generation, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19.”
The Tetra Pak Index 2020 also highlighted how food waste is rising on the agenda. The impact of COVID-19 on supply chains has accelerated awareness of food waste as a pressing issue. There is a likelihood that this sentiment will grow going forward, as the world strives to feed its growing population.
Consumers cite food waste reduction as both the number one environmental issue they can influence themselves and one of the top three priorities for manufacturers. Confusing labelling is a barrier, however, offering brands a chance for better communication.
"This year’s Tetra Pak Index highlights emerging consumer and social concerns that we see increasingly mirrored by academic research,” said Dan Esty, Hillhouse Professor at Yale University,
“With a growing global population set to require up to 70 percent more food by 2050, at a time when biodiversity, climate change and food security are becoming ever more pressing, there is an urgent need for change. Bold initiatives such as those taken by Tetra Pak to rethink future food packaging are therefore the need of the hour.”