Reduce Food Waste by Focusing on the Source

Reduce Food Waste by Focusing on the Source

Sealed Air’s packaging technologies solve bakery challenges when developing gluten free products.

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Friday, January 15, 2016 - 12:05pm

CAMPAIGN: Sealed Air: Reimagining Customer Solutions

CONTENT: Article

By now, we are all keenly aware of the growing trend toward gluten free diets and products.  Food producers have met the challenge with a myriad of gluten free options to satisfy those with either an allergy or simply a desire for a diet free of the wheat protein.  What many of us may not understand is the challenge faced by those food producers when removing gluten, as it contributes to the freshness and texture of food products. It’s possible, then, that the rise in the popularity of gluten free products could be contributing to our global food waste crisis if those products experience a shorter shelf life.  It’s possible, perhaps, but not inevitable. 

Recently, a bakery producer known for using the highest quality ingredients to provide communities with fresh bread, buns, bagels, cookies, and pastries faced this challenge.  Always aiming to serve evolving customer needs, the company noticed increasing consumer demand for gluten-free products, which mirrored national forecasts of exponential growth for gluten-free. To respond to the consumer shift, the company expanded its product portfolio to include gluten-free breads under one of its brands while maintaining its requirement for using high quality ingredients.

As the popularity of the new gluten-free products grew, the bakery encountered several freshness and quality preservation challenges. Because the specialty, preservative-free breads feature more sensitive ingredients than other breads they faced greater susceptibility to mold. This meant that the gluten-free products, with more costly ingredients, maintained a shelf life of just 4-8 days, leaving little time for consumers to enjoy the products following distribution and retail, and limiting the geographic area in which the bakery could distribute this increasingly popular product.  This meant more product going to waste before it ever reached consumer homes, and possible consumer disappoint in the shelf life of the product once it was brought into their homes.

The bakery teams quickly expressed interest in a packaging solution to solve the shelf life problems and were referred to Sealed Air by another supplier. Sealed Air introduced Cryovac® Freshness Plus® active barrier packaging to this bakery customer as a way to extend shelf life and maintain quality. Working closely together, Sealed Air helped the bakery maximize the package’s use and optimize new equipment at the bakery’s own facilities to ensure package integrity and functionality. The new Sealed Air customer launched a full rollout of the Freshness Plus active barrier package for their brand of gluten-free breads.

Sealed Air’s packaging technologies and ongoing support have helped this bakery customer achieve greater value from its new gluten-free products. The enhanced active barrier packaging has helped expand the retail shelf life of the bakery’s gluten-free breads nearly tenfold, enabling distribution into new markets. Likewise, the company has eliminated returns due to mold, delivering significant environmental and economic benefits. 

Many times, consumers can have a direct impact on food waste in their own homes, by shopping their pantry before visiting the grocery store or proper portion planning when cooking.  However, in the case of this bakery products producer, the choice of a Sealed Air packaging solution stopped food waste at the source by eliminating product degradation in the packaging and extending shelf life once the product is purchased.  By combining both industry solutions and consumer awareness and behavior change, we will see a positive impact on our global food waste problem.

About Sealed Air
Sealed Air Corporation creates a world that feels, tastes and works better. In 2014, the Company generated revenue of approximately $7.8 billion by helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals in the face of today’s biggest social and environmental challenges. Our portfolio of widely recognized brands, including Cryovac® brand food packaging solutions, Bubble Wrap® brand cushioning and Diversey® cleaning and hygiene solutions, ensures a safer and less wasteful food supply chain, protects valuable goods shipped around the world, and improves health through clean environments. Sealed Air has approximately 24,000 employees who serve customers in 175 countries. To learn more, visit