In its 13th annual Tetra Pak Index, 40% of respondents said they were concerned with food safety and future food supplies, up 10% from the previous report in 2019. In addition, more than 50% of consumers said improving food safety was the responsibility of manufacturers.
Commenting on the report, Hillhouse Professor at Yale University and chair of Tetra Pak’s advisory panel Dan Esty said the emerging consumer trends highlighted in the Index were increasingly mirrored by academic research.
Packaging and food safety
“With a growing global population set to require up to 70% more food by 2050, at a time when biodiversity, climate change and food security are becoming ever more pressing, there is an urgent need for change,” said Esty. “Bold initiatives to rethink future food packaging are therefore the need of the hour.”
Food packaging played an important role in consumers’ idea of food safety, with many indicating its main purpose was to keep food safe. Concerns were also raised about environmental innovations in packaging impacting food safety.
However, consumers also indicated that using sustainable packaging was one of the top issues that food and drink manufacturers need to tackle now and in the future.
Globally, 77% of consumers responding to the survey cited food waste as a key challenge, with awareness of the issue being accelerated by the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains. Tetra Pak argued that this sentiment was likely to grow moving forward as the world strives to feed a growing population.
COVID-19 top spot
Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 took the top spot as the most pressing issue in the survey, cited by 64% of respondents and edging out environmental issues (49%) and economic issues (47%).
Tetra Pak president and chief executive Adolfo Orive added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the status quo, accelerated trends and created a new landscape of consumer needs and opportunities for companies to build on.
“In particular, the industry needs to address the growing dilemma around food safety and the environment, stepping up towards the twin goals of meeting the human need for food while protecting our planet’s ecosystem. This is where food packaging can play a strong role in bringing about harmony.”