For product and brand managers responsible for food and beverage packaging, 2018 marked an increased focus on reducing single-use plastics. In the past year, more than 250 companies signed the MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics. Collins’ Dictionary named “single-use” the word of the year, and plastic straw pollution came under intense scrutiny, leading to their ban in cities around the world. Such progress is necessary for the future of the food and beverage category for both foodservice brands and CPG companies, not to mention the environmental health of the planet, but it’s also an important and exciting step toward the future of sustainable packaging.
With such a bright spotlight on adopting substrate alternatives, savvy product and brand managers are taking a proactive approach to product stewardship and sustainable packaging. One often overlooked aspect for them to start with is the ink used to print on their packaging. Proper product stewardship goes beyond replacing single-use plastics and allows product and brand managers to improve the safety and environmental health impact of the entirety of their products to be sure that they are both meeting regulations and avoiding future risk. Being proactive with consideration of packaging and ink content helps brands avoid regulatory risk and improve sustainability. However, a new class of inks using natural and renewable ingredients is emerging as an alternative providing a path to help companies prepare for new and future packaging regulations, get ahead of the clean packaging movement and enable them to meet sustainability goals.