With food wastage major ongoing concern in the UK, DuPont Teijin Films explains to Produce Business UK why it believes polyester films can help grocery retailers and their grower-suppliers make a real difference
In these cash-strapped times when all areas of the supply chain, from growers and retailers through to end consumers, are seeking to make the most of their limited budgets, it’s perhaps unsurprising that limiting food wastage has become a public priority.
A WRAP 2012 report by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that Britons throw away 4.2 million tonnes of food and drink every year – the equivalent of an entire meal each day – meaning the average British family was, even then, needlessly losing an estimated £60 every week.
In fact, WRAP estimates that 810,000 tonnes of fresh vegetables and salads alone, worth £2.1 billion, are thrown away by British shoppers every year.
The efforts of WRAP and other campaign groups, alongside the UK government, is gradually helping to reduce that total, but it’s clear that much more work needs to be done.
It is here that firms such as polyester film producer DuPont Teijin Films believe a difference can be made for both growers and retailers.
A world-leading supplier of heat sealable polyester films, the company supplies all major printers, converters and distributors that focus on the fresh produce sector.
According to Steve Davies, DuPont Teijin Films’ packaging market manager, the company’s Mylar range of lidding films is helping the fresh produce sector and grocery retailers to move from rigid clip-on lids to the more environmentally friendly top sealing lids.
For the fresh produce sector, Davies says this development has helped reduce packaging waste and lower costs while at the same time improving shelf impact.
Davies cites DuPont Teijin’s decades of experience in supplying heat sealable films, which he says give packers the confidence that a reliable seal will be achieved even when sealing at temperatures as low as 120ºC or through heavy contamination.
As well as the reliable seal and peel, he says other benefits that can be delivered by the Mylar range include excellent clarity and a “class leading” anti-fog coating that also significantly improves the impact that products achieve on the shelf.
However, it’s the push to reduce food wastage that looks likely to be the central focus for DuPont Teijin moving forward, with the firm already dedicating a significant amount of its budget to delivering new solutions to the problem faced by the fresh produce sector and retailers.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the whole food industry is reducing food waste, and this is an area to which that DuPont Teijin Films is dedicating a large portion of its research and development resource,” says Davies.
With this in mind, the company will this year launch its new Modified Humidity Packaging range (MHP), which has been designed to extend the shelf-life of certain fruits and vegetables by absorbing and then transmitting moisture from packs.
“The range of films has a water vapour transmission rate (WVTR) that is five times higher than standard polyester films and this can lead to a shelf-life extension of fresh produce where moisture is a determining factor in spoilage rates,” says Davies.
“We are keen to connect with a broad range of experts from the produce industry, in particular to help identify the best targets for the MHP film with an aim to contribute towards food waste reduction in the UK,” he adds.
A 50:50 joint venture between US-based DuPont and Japan’s Teijin, DuPont Teijin Films is a leading producer of PET and PEN polyester films, specialising in film products and related services across a huge range of sectors.
With dedicated marketing, technical and manufacturing operations in every region of the world, the business also includes a Chinese joint venture, DuPont-Hongji Films Foshan.
“For more than 50 years, DuPont Teijin Films has been putting leading-edge science to work to provide innovative filmic solutions for designers, engineers, specifiers and end-users,” says Davies.
“We are a major supplier in the industry…bringing the most innovative solutions to serve customer needs and meet the requirements of markets ranging from packaging to industrial,electronics and specialities.”
However, Davies is keen to emphasise that the focus of DuPont Teijn’s growth and development as a company is to justify the trust of customers and the public at large by placing the “highest priority” on safety and the preservation of the environment.
DuPont Teijin Films showcased its Mylar range of peelable lidding films at the London Produce Show and Conference 2015 on June 3-5 where the firm also took the opportunity to introduce its new Modified Humidity Packaging range and discuss the shelf-life benefits this technology can bring.