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Reducing food waste is widely seen as a significant way to lower production costs, increase the efficiency of the food system, improve food security and nutrition, and contribute towards a more environmentally sustainable food system. Food waste at the consumer level is often caused by poor purchasing habits, confusion over labels, excess buying, and poor storage. Packaging is often viewed as having a negative impact on the environment. However, in many cases packaging protects food and prolongs shelf life, reducing a product’s overall environmental impact by reducing food waste. Food packaging can reduce household food waste when it is designed to extend the shelf life of food products, available in various sizes for different sized households, communicates the best way to use and store food items, uses date labels to assist households to better manage their food, and to slow the degradation of minimally processed fruits and vegetables.

Understanding, perception, and use of packaging by consumers also play a role in household food waste generation but is not clearly understood. This industry report reviews the existing literature to scope the recognised knowledge in the fields of food packaging and food waste relating to consumers’ expectations, to inform food producers, packaging designers, and retailers in their strategies and educational campaigns.

It is envisaged that this baseline literature review will be later developed through Fight Food Waste CRC into research papers that identify and develop save food packaging solutions in collaboration with food retail industry and government partners.

In Australia and New Zealand, it is estimated that about 5-6% of all food produced in 2016 was lost in the retail and consumer stages of the food system, while 13.8% was lost at these stages globally. It has been calculated that consumer food waste in Australia accounts for 34% of all food wasted across the food supply chain, with 92% of this waste ending up in landfill. The existing literature shows that there are a wide variety of factors that influence consumer behaviour with food that is wasted.


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