Wastage of foodstuffs is estimated at 50% in the least developed
countries, at 30% in most developing countries and at a mere 2% in the developed
world. These differences can be attributed to differences in packaging and
Economies are often in difficulty and development, especially in
Africa, is slow.
Problems often begin with the failure of the harvest, crops
rotting in the fields, vermin in the warehouses or an inability to distribute
that which remains.
In a modern society practically all merchandise is packaged and
the entire process of distribution would be impossible without the use of
To demonstrate its importance in our daily lives, these are the
principle advantages of packaging(2).
1. For consumer health:
Packaging could help to
prevent famine, malnutrition and sickness: a report by the Food and
Agriculture Organisation (F.A.O.) concludes that improved packaging and handling
would immediately reduce crop losses by 5% in several countries. This
improvement alone would furnish at least an additional 39 million tonnes of
foodstuffs each year (or nearly twice the annual world-wide deficit).
Packaging prevents the product from
spoiling: it virtually guarantees a safe product and reduces the risk of
Packaging greatly reduces sickness:
Public health and safety authorities consider packaging to be one of the
main factors contributing to the regression of tuberculosis, influenza and
numerous gastrointestinal illnesses over the last 100 years.
Packaging provides the consumer with
information on a product: by indicating the composition, the quantity, the
best-by date, and serving suggestions.
Packaging is convenient: it adapts
to all types of needs, i.e. individual portions and easy-to-open packaging.
Packaging permits a wide range of
products, which otherwise would not be available, to be offered for sale: we
can drink mango juice out of season thousands of kilometres from the original
2. For business:
We use packaging materials
in a more efficient manner: thanks to technological progress, we use less
material to package the same amount of product... without sacrificing product
quality (23% savings on a box of milk in 18 years, 25% on a PET bottle and on an
aluminium tin in 20 years.)
Packaging reduces the cost of most
products by reducing damage: Experts estimate that the cost of distribution
for most products would be at least doubled if packaging did not exist.
Packaging reduces the cost of
foodstuffs: through the reduction of losses due to vermin and
3. For society:
Packaging reduces solid
waste: a study carried out in Mexico has shown that a household in Mexico
produces 40% more waste than one in the USA. One of the reasons is that, in
Mexico, less packaging and fewer pre-cooked foodstuffs are used; the overall
refuse includes far more organic waste.
Packaging contributes to a more
elevated standard of living: thanks to more advanced packaging methods,
inhabitants of the developed countries spend less each year on food than in
other countries. Money thus saved can contribute to providing a higher standard
Packaging contributes to the creation
of jobs and revenue: in the USA, packaging is an industry worth 75 to 80
billion dollars and which employs more than 2 million people. Lecturers in the
science and technology of packaging are among the most sought-after and best
paid technical experts.
This also signifies that packaging costs are a part of
everyone's daily life: studies have shown that packaging alone represents 5 to
50% of the overall cost of products, and that for foodstuffs the figure is 16 %.
Fruits are a natural resource in nearly all the African, the
Caribbean and Pacific countries. Their variety is impressive and until recently,
it must be said that few of these countries have known how to exploit this "gold
mine" given the fragile nature of fresh fruit.
Therefore, one of the very first steps in the exploitation of
any fruit is the making of a juice, a nectar or any other fruit-based drink.
One of the difficulties frequently encountered by promoters
involves the choice of