I read with interest a post by Dr Liz Goodwin on Wrap’s blog entitled ‘How the ‘Easter Egg Principle’ can change the world’. A powerful claim you may think, I did – but actually it makes a makes a lot of sense in the realms of food packaging and waste.
“This came home to me when WRAP worked with a group of confectionary brands to find ways of reducing the packaging around Easter Eggs: they were understandably cautious about acting alone: would less packaging make the eggs look smaller and less attractive to customers and therefore put them at a competitive disadvantage, hitting sales?”
And I think this hits the nail on the head – I can see why retailers are sceptical because common-sense (or the notion of it) says that ‘bigger is better’ and when you’re trying to make products appeal to children then yes – bigger does sell. But in parallel with making a profit, retailers need to consider the bigger environmental picture.
As the article suggests, making progress ‘as a group’ seems a sensible way forward – everyone takes environmental steps together without losing out to competitors that haven’t yet acted on their carbon footprints. The Seasonal Confectionary Working Group venture started by WRAP is a good start in my eyes and its projects should be getting more support from retailers and manufacturers across the food industry.
Ok, so voluntary ‘sign in’ schemes such as the Courtauld Commitment are great – that is if everyone (or a good proportion) does sign up. But what will be the next step further down the line? There has to be a point where the reduction of waste and the increase in recycling by food retailers and manufacturers has to be compulsory.
If there was a level playing field when it comes to things like Easter eggs – i.e. all packaging is only X by Y in size – then everyone would be doing their bit for the environment and no-one would lose out in the ‘who’s is the biggest egg’ competition.
I accept that it probably isn’t as simple as my brain just pasted words onto the page but surely it makes sense and wouldn’t be that difficult to achieve? Working together is the key here and I hope that WRAP’s initiative takes off and gets all the support it deserves.