The selection of the raw materials used in packaging has a direct effect on food wastage

Food wastage is a global problem. It is estimated that a significant proportion of food – particularly fruits and vegetables – is damaged or even destroyed during transport from the farm to shops. For example, nearly 50% of tomatoes go bad or suffer other damage before they reach consumers.

Food wastage often has more extensive environmental effects than those of producing and recycling packaging. Low-quality packaging and poorly planned logistics are a significant cause of food wastage. High-quality packaging protects the products properly for a sufficiently long time. Good packaging ensures that food will not go bad during the initial storage, handling or transport. Fibre-based packaging made from the best materials is an efficient, ecological means of reducing food wastage.

Urbanisation and increasing global sales of produce call for light and durable packaging materials of high quality.

How it works in practise

Made from Finnish birch, semi-chemical fluting (SCF) is a lightweight, highly durable material used for producing corrugated board packaging that is guaranteed to carry the weight of the products and protect them in global fruit and vegetable production.

Fluting of this type is up to 30% lighter than cardboard made from raw materials of a lower quality. Despite their lightness, the packaging boxes are strong and can endure long transportation distances and storage in varied conditions.

Financial opportunities and broader social significance

Semi-chemical fluting reduces the need for raw materials in the manufacture of corrugated board packaging. For example, a midsize corrugated board mill may save up to 200 tonnes of raw materials per million square metres of board per year. This reduces the need for packaging material transport by 2–10 truckloads per mill. Europe alone has more than 680 corrugated board mills.

The primary purpose of packaging materials is to protect products and enable their transport to consumers. However, packaging materials need to be transported and further processed as well. For this reason, the quality of packaging materials has a direct effect on the amount and environmental effects of materials in need of transport and on food wastage.

Further information

Powerflute®, a light, durable semi-chemical fluting developed by Savon Sellu, is manufactured in Kuopio, Finland. The mill exports cardboard to all continents, to a total of 45 countries.

Savon Sellu Oy / Powerflute Oyj