Sustainability, Trend

Barrier packaging & sustainability

30/06/2021 | 2 min read
Bettina Schrenk

The opening session in the afternoon of the second day of Greiner Packaging’s virtual Innovation Days featured Bettina Schrenk, Global Expert R&D at Greiner Packaging, who looked how barrier packaging technologies can support sustainability and reduce food waste.

How barrier packaging can support sustainability

“Consumers want food that is natural and fresh, and which also has a very long shelf life,” said Bettina Schrenk. “Looking at the trends we see as a global producer of packaging, the first is sustainability and food waste. According to the World Health Organization, about 1.8 billion tons of food a year is thrown away, and 25% of that in the European Union. Barrier packaging can be a solution to reduce food waste.”

“Another trend is urbanization. By 2050, about 70% of the world's population will live in cities and this will mean longer transport times for food. Therefore, the weight and practicality of packaging will become more important. Plastic has a big advantage compared to glass and metal, because it is lightweight.”

“Organic farming is growing in Germany at around 10% per year, and consumers want organic food to have less preservatives. Barrier packaging provides the solution.

“About 70% of purchasing decisions are made in the first few seconds, so first impressions and the visibility of the filled product are important, as consumers want to see what they are buying. That's why transparent packaging is becoming more and more interesting, and barrier packaging can be a solution.”

“The common rigid materials which are used in the packaging industry are PP, PET, and polystyrene, none of which have very good barrier properties,” said Bettina Schrenk. “Packaging is not a closed system. Oxygen and water vapor can penetrate, affecting the food, and that is why we have developed different barrier technologies: IBT (inert barrier technology); ABT (active barrier technology) and MBT (multi-barrier technology). With this portfolio, we can create tailor-made solutions for any packaged food product.

Reducing the degradation of food to avoid food waste

“We are not finished with our development,” said Bettina Schrenk. “Our target is to improve the properties of our products, especially in quality, in safety, and also in functionality. It is also important that we include ecological and sustainable aspects, and that is why we are developing our barrier packaging formats so that they are in line with our packaging design guideline for a circular economy.”

Another valuable item point is that the barrier is a barrier against oxygen, but also a barrier against immigration of harmful substances. So, a very important development topic for us is to develop our barrier from a barrier against variation to a barrier against immigration. That is the reason why one of our visions is to use mechanically recycled PP for packaging with direct food contact.

Bettina Schrenk, Global Expert R&D at Greiner Packaging

“Greiner Packaging barrier technology can support sustainability by reducing food waste. The ecological footprint of food production is bigger than for packaging, with around 30% of greenhouse gas emissions coming from food production and one third of worldwide food production is lost during the transportation. That is why packaging is very important. Selecting the right packaging helps to reduce the degradation of food and avoid food waste.”


Watch the full live session here!

Please note: In order to watch the live session you need to login (and register) first; registration is still possible, even though the event is over.

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