A government website aimed at encouraging people to waste less food waxes lyrical about the benefits of packaging – and it is backed by the industry’s Packaging Federation. “Food loves the packaging it comes in,” the website says.
“There’s nothing better to protect it and keep it fresher for longer. From ziplocks on cheese packs to breathable fruit and veg bags, it has been cleverly designed with all sorts of cunning features.”
But according to the Green MSP, Alison Johnstone, this will confuse the public. “Most waste information urges you to try and avoid over-packaging of fresh food, not tell you how brilliant it is,” she said.
The food writer and Sunday Herald restaurant reviewer, Joanna Blythman, took to Twitter to accuse the packaging industry of using the government’s ‘love food hate waste’ website for “shameless self-promotion”. She argued that putting a plate over a bowl of food was better than using clingfilm.
The government’s Zero Waste Scotland agency, however, said that the environmental impact of waste food was six times greater than that of packaging. “We are working to reduce both packaging and food waste,” it tweeted.
Dick Searle, the chief executive of the Packaging Federation, argued that food wrappings were often vilified on the basis of perception rather than science. “Packaging protects food from the farm to the home, where it can carry on protecting it until it’s eaten,” he told the Sunday Herald.