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Latvians lose 15% of products due to packaging, and another third are thrown into the trash
28.01.2019

The international initiative Save Food has published data according to which a third of all food is in vain – thrown away or spoiled. In monetary terms, this is about $ 1 trillion a year. “Think about these shocking numbers. Scientists are sure that not even a third, but only a quarter of this food would be enough to solve the sore problem of starving people all over the world, ”comments Irina Mirochnik, President of the IMMER Group, an international manufacturer of flexible packaging. 


According to a 2012 study of Food waste: the problem in the EU in numbers, 11% of production is lost during the cultivation and processing stage, 19% during production, 12% during cooking and catering, 5% during storage by retail companies , and another 53% is lost in households. “Choosing the right packaging allows us to minimize losses at all these stages, and each of us as a representative of a single household can make a contribution by giving preference to one or another type of product packaging,” explains I. Mirochnik. “Moreover, choosing the right product in the right packaging is incredibly beneficial for us.” 


Inefficient: some products are stored 30 times less than they could. Since an incredible amount of products spoils before it is used, it is necessary to solve this problem, and without the use of additional chemical additives. Already developed alternative solutions that provide a significant extension of the shelf life of goods. According to the expert, at a temperature of 0 to +25°C, milk is stored in flexible packaging for 90 days instead of three, that is, 30 times longer! The shelf life of cottage cheese increases three times - from 7 to 21 days, and mayonnaise, which is stored in flexible packaging, remains fresh for 90 days instead of the usual 30 days and does not require the use of preservatives. In addition, flexible packaging is easy to close again, so that the product does not absorb the specific smell of the refrigerator and the food stored in it. 


Hazardous to health: up to 84% of goods are contaminated due to unreliable packaging. Packing options that are familiar to everyone are not effective enough to protect products. Cardboard and paper, for example, do not protect the product from ingress of moisture, liquids and dirt, which carries risks for the health of consumers. “Foodwatch, a nonprofit food assessment organization, conducted a check on residual traces of mineral oil in food. It turned out that 28.7% of products are contaminated with aromatic hydrocarbons of mineral oils (mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons – MOAH), and 84.1% of products contain saturated hydrocarbons (mineral oil hydrocarbons – MOSH). Among the most vulnerable products are rice, wheat, semolina, macaroni and chocolate, says the President of the IMMER Group. – To protect yourself and your loved ones from possible risks, it is better to look for alternative types of packaging that guarantee the necessary barrier and protection. Flexible packaging, for example, is quite reliable.”


It is uneconomical: up to 15% of products remain in regular packaging. Most Latvians usually buy ketchup in glass jars, and then suffer, turning the jar upside down to remove the product to the end. The same thing happens with sour cream, packed in a plastic jar, ryazhenka and kefir in carton packs, chocolate paste in a glass jar and a variety of other products. Usually, up to 15% of products remain in such packaging. “Even a third part of all the wasted food would be enough to solve the problem of world hunger. But even if you don’t think about it and focus only on your family’s budget, the amount “thrown into the trash bin” will not seem so small. According to the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, Latvians spend 34% of their income on food and 15% of these expenses is a substantial amount. For example, if 200 euro per month is spent on food, it turns out that the household has simply been thrown into the trash bin – literally! – 30 euros. And this is already 360 euros a year - quite a lot of money,” commented Irina Mirochnik. “At the same time, 100% of the product can be removed from the flexible packaging.”


The president of the company adds that our everyday decisions, mistakenly seemingly small and unimportant, decisions that we often make, even without thinking, seriously affect our quality of life and our well-being, and also have a serious impact on the environment. But we are able to make choices that are right for the environment and for ourselves – for example, to give preference to goods in truly economical and environmentally friendly packaging.