A for Effort: Are Our Sustainable Packaging Efforts Creating a Positive Impact?

The search for sustainable food packaging that protects the environment, product integrity, and a company’s financial bottom line is ongoing. Join this SFTA session to learn from a panel of experts and organic food companies who will discuss sustainable packaging trends in the organic food trade. They will debate how these trends may hit- or miss- the mark, and identify potential solutions to improve sustainable packaging efforts in the future. A for Effort frames the discussion with a description of life-cycle thinking as it relates to packaging— providing context for what sustainable packaging means and how to judge its sustainability. Then, packaging manufacturer Elk Packaging will demonstrate the types of sustainable packaging trends we are seeing in the organic trade, including but not limited to flexible packaging, eco-packs (for produce), and compostable materials. After this introduction, the session switches to its panel, which includes panelists from organic food sectors in the manufacturing, food retail, and produce distribution sectors. Panelists will speak to the challenges and successes they have had working with key supply chain partners to implement new packaging choices, and the costs embedded when doing so. Panel debate will also address if—and how much— these and other efforts mitigate social and environmental impacts, what unintended impacts they may be causing, and what solutions the organic industry can help address to overcome roadblocks to a sustainable packaging ecosystem.