Nestlé and Marks & Spencer, two major brands in food packaging, headlined the Food Packaging Summit at Stationers’ Hall in London at the end of September. Organised by the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), the British Coatings Federation (BCF) and the Stationers’ Company, the event gave the clear message that through collaboration, the supply chain will ensure food packaging safety and minimise any potential risks to the consumer from substance migration.
Simon Oxley, Packaging Technologist for Marks & Spencer said, “I see the collaboration between the different industries in different parts of the supply chain absolutely key to addressing the challenges that we jointly face.”
According to John Lepley from the Food and Drink Federation, the key to safe food packaging is communication – the supply chain can be complex and it is essential that all parts of the chain are aware of the final use of the packaging – how long does it need to last, will it be heated in a microwave or oven, or frozen?
This was reinforced by Sander Koster, Group Leader for Packaging Food Safety from Nestlé, who explained the safety and compliance approach adopted by Nestlé for all suppliers.
The Summit also looked at printing inks and following a presentation from lead sponsor Sun Chemical, there were presentations from Chris Whitehead (BCF) and Martin Kanert (European Printing Ink Association) on the latest legislation in Europe. The industry is calling for Europe-wide legislation for printing inks, which currently only exists in Switzerland. Significant work has gone into updating the Good Manufacturing Guidance, and all suppliers offer low migration inks. However, if the carton producers are not aware of the final use of the packaging, problems could still arise. Elaine Murray from Multi Packaging Solutions Group outlined the complexity and rigor needed by carton makers to ensure migration risks are minimised, which was confirmed for flexible packaging as well by Will Mercer from Coveris.
The summit also looked at the sustainability of food packaging. Simon Oxley from Marks & Spencer noted a growing trend from consumers for more recyclability.
Jane Bickerstaffe from Incpen, whose presentation was delivered by Neal Whipp from BPIF Cartons, made the point that packaging plays a crucial role to protect food, to help make it last longer and to reduce food waste. This is often forgotten by consumers who only think of food packaging as waste.
Feedback from the event was excellent and it was generally felt a Summit of this nature would be welcomed every two years.