The costs of sustainable packaging are shared throughout the supply chain
Speech by retail expert Giampaolo Ferri. Watch the video of the broadcast!
Creating sustainable agri-food systems is not at all simple: the fruit and vegetable world boasts many experiences that use eco-sustainable packaging and others that give products a second life. These issues were discussed in the eighth episode of the cycle ‘La Natura Dal Campo alla Tavola’ broadcast on 7 Gold last Saturday and entitled ‘Circular economy to create value’.
In this period, the issue of the cost of raw materials is at the center of attention. Regarding the costs of sustainable packaging, the expert Giampaolo Ferri said that “The large-scale distribution must bear, at least in part, the higher costs of this packaging. They cannot be borne only by packaging companies. On the other hand, large-scale distribution cannot it cannot even ‘charge’ the costs too much, because otherwise they would weigh on the final consumer. It is not easy to reach a balance that satisfies everyone, especially in this period. But the trend of packaged fruit and vegetables is on the rise and, with it, the demand of increasingly environmentally friendly packaging “.
In this regard, Massimiliano Ceccarini of Sipo recalled all the efforts of his company to find and use increasingly sustainable packaging, according to customer requests.
On the theme of reusing what once would have been waste, a concrete example comes from the prickly pear supply chain. If the versatility of the fruit pulp is well known due to its nutraceutical and nutritional properties, a real world opens up when it comes to the use of plant waste.
“There is not a single part of this plant that we do not reuse: from the flower to the cladoid, from the peel to the seed – said Salvatore Rapisarda, director of the Consorzio Euroagrumi OP in Biancavilla (Catania) – Today we have managed to completely eliminate the waste and we are studying other systems for the enhancement of some bioproducts, with a view to circular economy. “” We have already obtained biodegradable dishes from prickly pear shovels (photo above) to be used at the table. They are practically blades emptied from the internal watery part. They are totally safe and can be used for foods that are not too hot, otherwise the plate will bend a little. And, if you want, you can also eat them. This is a research project carried out in collaboration with some universities. It is just an example – added Rapisarda – to make people understand that, in many cases, it is possible to create a virtuous circular economy that does not generate waste, but reuses everything “.
The virtuous realities that recover all the recoverable transforming it into value for the community and the territory where they operate cannot ignore knowledge, in order to scale production processes in the context of a circular economy, also with a view to making profit.
Sandro Colombi, director of Lamboseeds, recalled how “research is increasingly moving in the direction of selecting varieties of vegetables that are more resistant to diseases and adaptable to arid climates, thinking in terms of water that is less and less available and, therefore, of irrigation with lower frequencies. But it is not easy, especially using traditional techniques and not GMOs “.
The technician Stefano Pazzagli described how a vegetable processing company such as Sipo of Bellaria Igea Marina (Rimini) is able to reuse its water to minimize waste. “The water used to wash the vegetables is then purified in a storage tank and further decanted in a company pond. From here, it is used again for irrigation, while the unused water returns to the sea.” Another topic touched upon during the stake was that of the management of product surpluses. Rapisarda again: “The European Union allows a withdrawal of 0.5% of the total, in the case of crisis years, and the product must be distributed to entities that deal with of assistance to the needy. Beyond the fact that offering products to those in need only if there are surpluses is not very logical: the rule should be changed so that, if there are no years of crisis, that 0.5% the year can be put aside and recovered instead in the problematic year “.
Giovanni Bruno, president of the Food Bank Foundation Onlus also spoke. In 2021, about 7,000 tons of food were collected with the Food Bank Collection, the equivalent of 14 million meals despite the particular time and inconvenience due to bad weather in numerous locations. The Food Bank promotes the recovery of food surpluses and their redistribution. There are about 7,600 charitable structures that assist nearly 2 million people in difficulty. In 2021, it distributed over 80,000 tons of food. To conclude the broadcast, conducted by the journalist Cristiano Riciputi, external contributions with two recipes: a typical Sicilian with Maria Scalisi and a more innovative one by the chef Claudio Di Bernardo of the Grand hotel in Rimini.