Reducing food waste - how packaging can help

Small changes in behaviour and continued innovation around packaging keeps food fresher for longer, saves money and reduces waste.

'Fresher for Longer conference' - 5 February 2014

Liz Goodwin joins high profile speakers at the first ever national ‘Fresher for Longer’ conference.  The conference is aimed at supporting councils, retailers, brands and related supply chain organisations to take forward the 'Fresher for Longer' campaign in 2014.  Read Liz's speech here.


March 2013

Approximately 40% of household food waste arises from products ‘not used in time’, mainly perishable or short shelf-life products, with a value of around £6.0 billion. Although much research has been carried out separately on food waste, and food packaging, this new integrated research has added significantly to our understanding, and our ability to help develop and deliver solutions to help consumers.

This research shows that how long food stays fresh for is a priority for consumers, but many are not making best use of the information on pack, or the packaging itself, to achieve this. Nor are they aware of the benefits that packaging can offer to maximise in-home shelf-life. However, there is a clear interest in packaging that can maintain food freshness, and in more effective on-pack messages about how to store food.

This research highlights several opportunities:

  • As consumers we can all make more use of the information provided on packaging, particularly as much of this is being updated in line with WRAP recommendations, and the packaging itself, to ensure that the way we store food at home keeps it fresher for longer.
  • Local authorities, consumer groups and others can provide advice on buying food with the appropriate packaging (for example loose or packaged if you want to keep it fresher for longer), buying the right pack size and looking more closely at labels.
  • Food and packaging organisations (retailers, manufacturers, trade associations) should consider whether they, or their members, can do more to innovate their packaging or inform consumers about the innovations they are already making to raise awareness of the benefits and encourage consumers to make use of these.
  • Love Food Hate Waste is doing more to raise awareness of the benefits of reducing food waste, and the role that packaging can play in keeping food fresher for longer. Further information about how to get involved can be found at our Love Food Hate Waste partners’ website or check out our new features at

Overall, this research shows that small changes in behaviour around packaging, and continued innovation, could deliver the benefits consumers are looking for – keeping food fresher for longer, saving money and reducing the impact of food waste on the environment.

This work was commissioned by a Steering Group comprising representatives from INCPEN (Industry Council for Packaging & the Environment), WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), The Packaging Federation, The Food & Drink Federation, Kent Waste Partnership and The British Retail Consortium.

INCPEN logoThe Packaging Federation logo
Food and Drink Federation logoKent Waste Partnership logo

British Retail Consortium logo



November 2013 Update

WRAP published new estimates on how much food and drink is disposed annually from UK households in November 2013.  The breakdown of avoidable food and drink waste has been updated along with the associated value and environmental impact figures. Go to: