EU Food and Drink Industries had in 2013 a turnover of 1.244 billion € being the largest manufacturing sector in the EU. Also in 2013, the sector was integrated by 289.000 companies with 4.2 million employed people being also the leading employer in the EU (Source: Food and Drink Europe).
Food and drink represent some of our society’s greatest traditions and pleasures. Today we have access to an impressive variety and quality of food and drinks. Food sector is an indelible part of Europe’s social, economic and cultural fabric. But like most progress, this comes with challenges.
The European food and drink industry wants to play its part as an active partner in addressing these challenges to ensure that Europe continues to have the highest quality and safest food in the world taking care of the environment in order to drive prosperity and sustainability, to ensure quality jobs etc.
Enhancing a resource-efficient, circular economy, is one of the most important priorities for the European food and drink industry. It plays a key role in food and drink companies’ long-term competitiveness and makes good environmental and business sense. Companies have to move towards a more circular economy; for instance, through preventing food waste and striving to preserve the value of resources such as water, energy and materials like packaging.
The packaging of a product is often the best way to visually engage and attract potential consumers, and by infusing eco-friendly methods into the design, retailers are able to creatively distinguish themselves apart from other less eco conscious brands. So, eco-design applied to the packaging is a source of added value for the European food products.
Environmental sustainability and business don’t always go hand in hand, especially when it comes to product packaging. Some of the most common household often aren’t eco friendly. For companies hoping to attract sustainability-minded customers, this can be a real problem. Even though it makes up a small part of a product’s environmental impact, packaging is the first thing that consumers see, and it can heavily influence their buying decisions.