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Plastic and food security

Plastic, despite the sight of islands of it floating in the Pacific Ocean, has been a great benefit to modern society – it provides us with safe, clean food in a transportable package, among its many other qualities. It reduces food waste by keeping food secure and edible for longer.
At Process Expo last week in Chicago, I looked at some of the winners of the show’s innovation showcase, which included a plastic film that completely degrades in landfill. The Zubiox products are part of the trend towards getting less plastic into the entire chain. It was six years in the making, according to Zubex’s Miguel Zabira, and went through a lot of testing and development. There are 80 trillion pounds of package waste in the world today, and 40 per cent of that is flexible packaging. So, a product that can alleviate some of the waste is welcome. Plus, keeping the protective barrier properties of plastic is key – with more countries packaging dairy than ever before (thus wasting less milk), it is important to make plastic that serves both the needs of a shelf life, as well as its post-package life.
Another feature of the show was the Food Processing Suppliers Association’s contribution to the Greater Chicago Food Depository at the show, as part of its Defeat Hunger campaign to help with easing food insecurity in the Chicago area. Food banks are one of those institutions that shouldn’t exist in a modern society, but do. It is important work feeding people, but it is a sad state of affairs that in the richest countries of the world there are more food banks than ever. So, if you’d like to contribute, please visit www.fpsa.org/giving-back. Closer to home in the UK, there is the Trussell Trust. That web address is www.trusselltrust.org. Give what you can, because nobody should worry where their next meal is coming from.

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