Driven by what industry data analyst IRI describes as ‘conscious consumerism’ in much the same way as veganism, plastic waste was one of the most discussed food industry topics of 2018 – and all the signs are this will only accelerate in 2019.
The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December, is likely to set the tone for the year ahead. Central to the strategy is a plan to introduce a tax on single-use plastics with less than 30% recycled content, and further proposals to ban the use of plastic packaging where alternatives exist.
“We will cut our reliance on single-use plastics, end confusion over household recycling, tackle the problem of packaging by making polluters pay, and end the economic, environmental and moral scandal that is food waste,” said environment secretary Michael Gove at the time of the launch.
According to Mintel, a “seismic shift” in how consumers think about plastic is underway, with bio-based packaging materials set to be a key component in the next generation of responsible packaging.
“In 2019 and beyond, sustainability efforts will include not only improving access to recycling, but incentivising consumers to recycle packaging and offering upcycled goods,” says Jenny Zegler, associate director at Mintel Food & Drink.