Safety vs sustainability: Single-use food packaging use rises due to COVID-19 – but is it truly safer?
By Pearly Neo
- Last updated on
Single-use, disposable food packaging has made a comeback rising on the coattails of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many consumers believe this to be safer and/or more hygienic – but are these beliefs truly warranted?
For some years now, sustainability has been a key trend and driver in the business and marketing strategies for many food and beverage companies in the Asia Pacific region such as Coca-Cola and Nestle especially after China banned plastic waste imports in 2018.
One of the main initiatives across many of these that have this focus has generally been to cut down on the use of single-use plastic bottles and packaging – but experts say it is likely that ‘companies may resort to plastic packaging to combat the spread of the pandemic, putting the sustainability aspect in the back seat’ again.
“Single-use packaging, which has faced lots of criticism in recent years because of environmental concerns, might be seen as a better packaging alternative from a ‘hygiene’ point of view because of limited handling/access of the inner products,” said insights firm GlobalData’s Practice Head of Consumer Beverages Arvind Kaila.
“[This] may hurt sustainability goals sustainability goals set forth by governing bodies and businesses alike.”