I am not ashamed to admit the number of times I have used this blog to preach a holistic approach to the packaging supply chain and to urge all involved to work together for its betterment and that of our wider world.
It therefore pleases me greatly to report that our ground breaking Feb 5 London conference on Fresher For Longer (FFL) issues provided a near-perfect example of just such holistic cooperation in action. In one sense, of course, the work has just begun. And yet, looking around the animated room of networking delegates from all corners; retail, industry, local authorities, politicians, media, it seemed clear to me that the FFL momentum had been gathering for quite some time. Make no mistake, this initiative now has a head of steam behind it that should help us make considerable progress in the coming months.
To recap briefly; our steering group of diverse interests succeeded in bringing together and uniting the complete food retail and consumption chain around the topical and worthwhile issue of Fresher For Longer. Worthwhile to the consumer (to the tune of some £50.00 a month); worthwhile to the retailing industry and its corporate and social responsibilities; worthwhile to our waste management industries and to the country as a whole. As said before, FFL is a classic win, win, win programme.
As part of our conference publicity work I noted that ‘the UK is turning the corner from seeing all packaging as negative to realising packaging has played, and will play, major roles in reducing food waste.’ I am again pleased to report that, during lunch time and the breakout sessions and from the podium I heard this particular viewpoint echoed and re-echoed.
Through FFL I am also now confident that we have created a bridgehead or platform whereby Local Authorities and Brands/Retailers can now work in a very practical manner with consumers, chiefly in order to finally have packaging used in the manner described on the packet. Matters of communication and education can often take their own sweet time but my belief is that our landmark Feb 5th conference has really this process to widen and to improve.
Although it’s an excellent start to the campaign and many important skirmishes and battles continue to be won, the peace dividend is still yet to be finally won. Two steps forward often foreshadow one step back. The latter duly arrived this week in the form of another phthalates-in-packaging scare story under the auspices of the British Medical Journal group and carried further by national news media.
In the usual manner the science relating to this particular study was vague enough to promote general unease while making sure to hold back any exact details that could either be refuted scientifically or in court. It served at least to provide a timely reminder of the attrition that we have been through. This week at least I’m not rising to the bait. I will continue to follow up the connections and progress made from FFL Feb 5 and to celebrate the small victories thereby made. I suggest you do the same.