Huhtamaki India: Our role in the food system

Huhtamaki India: Our role in the food system

“Protecting food, people and the planet” – this is Huhtamaki’s purpose.

To start with the first of the three elements – Protecting Food. Food is precious and it takes care and skill to nurture, harvest and process.Protecting food so it reaches consumers in good condition is therefore important.

At Huhtamaki, we understand that packaging creates value by securing hygiene, food availability and food safety for consumers around the globe.Packaging also plays an instrumental role in reducing food waste, which remains by far the biggest environmental impact from food systems on climate change. 

In India, The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that nearly 40% of food produced in India is wasted every year due to fragmented food systems and inefficient supply chains. This is the loss that occurs even before the food reaches the consumer. Additionally, according to the Food Waste Index Report 2021 published by the United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP) a staggering 50 kg of food is thrown away per person every year in Indian homes. This excess food waste usually ends up in landfills, creating potent greenhouse gases which affect the climate.

Food packaging and Huhtamaki

At Huhtamaki, we believe that food packaging can help protect, not only our food, but also our climate and nature’s habitats. From an environmental, economic and social point of view, food waste has a far greater impact than packaging. While food wastage contributes to roughly 8% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide, only 5% of carbon emissions in food systems are attributable to food packaging. Thanks to today’s digital breakthroughs, packaging also offers solutions including product traceability and efficient circularity. In this scenario, the goal to protect the climate by minimizing carbon emissions critically relies on using the right packaging to prevent food waste.Today, our customers, consumers, communities and the planet need sustainable packaging solutions more than ever before.

To this end, smarter food packaging positively contributes to biodiversity and to the protection of the climate. As counterintuitive as it may seem, when viewed from a holistic perspective, we believe that these solutions will play an instrumental role in the well-being of our planet. This is where well-designed packaging can help, by preserving food for longer, improving food safety and preventing food waste.

Huhtamaki manufactures all food contact packaging under safe and controlled hygienic environments.We are committed to providing safe, fit-for-purpose and high-quality packaging products to food and drink packaging customers globally. Finished articles go through rigorous quality control process and are tested in accordance with the legal requirements. For our fiber-based products, our goal is to use fiber from either recycled or certified sustainable sources. Quality and hygiene management systems, such as ISO9001 and BRC, provide a solid base for securing manufacturing consistency.

Our approach to food safety covers the entire supply chain. We manufacture fit-for-purpose packaging from responsibly sourced raw materials, including renewable and recycled materials. Food contact packaging has to be optimized and meet several safety requirements. It also has a very important role to play in the life cycle of packed food. By protecting the food it contains, packaging helps to reduce food waste.

Proactive communication between all parties in the value chain regarding raw materials, compositions and intended use of the final food packaging is essential when we design our products. Each Huhtamaki product meets high quality and food safety standards that give our customers and their customers, the consumers, confidence in our products.Huhtamaki is a trusted partner, delivering and innovating on sustainability and food safety. 

Future of packaging and the Planet

The future of food packaging will be impacted by four transformative trends.

  • The next billion consumers will come from emerging markets
  • Sustainability will drive innovation and collaboration
  • The future consumer will require packaging to be smart, individual and sustainable
  • Digitalization will influence packaging and the way we do business globally.

Packaging has a fundamental role to play in building sustainable and resilient food systems globally. But just as with all innovations, there are challenges to be dealt with. Each year over eight million tons of plastic packaging enters our oceans and recycling rates across the globe remain low. Here is the paradox: On the one hand, society wants to see fewer materials used, less packaging waste and less litter. On the other hand, it also wants safer products, less food waste and a longer shelf life.The debate should not be about more or less packaging. It should be about how we make packaging smarter and more sustainable with better end-of-life management; packaging that considers the full environmental, social and governance impacts.

To understand and address this paradox, we launched Think Circle – a platform to openly address the issues around sustainability and move towards finding solutions together with other key stakeholders.By reflecting differing viewpoints from a range of contributors — such as leaders from academia, business, NGOs and other key institutions — our objective was to move the circularity dialogue forward and contribute to a collective understanding to help drive systemic change.

As a global leader in sustainable packaging solutions, Huhtamaki embeds sustainability in everything we do.We aim to minimize the negative impact of our operations and products on the environment while maximizing the positive impact on our stakeholders, consumers and society.

Huhtamaki’s Blueloop, its circularity and its sustainability initiatives are recognised. In 2020, we received an MSCI ESG Rating of A on a scale of AAA-CCC. To address the challenges of climate change, we have committed to set science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative.We have been awarded a Silver Medal by EcoVadis for our performance in sustainability.We are focused on achieving carbon neutral production and designing all our products to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2030.We are a participant in the UN Global Compact.

We have high aspirations for the future and are committed to the ambitions we have set ourselves to make our operations more sustainable, working on designing for circularity across systems and products. Our future is in protecting food, people and the planet.