Ahead of this year's Global Food Contact Webinar Series, we spoke to Marjatta Punkka, Product Safety and Sustainability Manager at Metsä Board, to get her insights on the biggest challenges currently faced by the food contact materials industry, emerging opportunities, and key take-aways from her presentation that will focus on preventing food waste with safe, plastic-free, and fluorochemical-free paperboard materials.
As we look to the future of this industry, collaboration and innovation will be crucial ways of tackling the most pressing problems. What are some of the biggest challenges currently facing this industry?
New, innovative, and renewable materials are needed, but they are challenging from a regulatory perspective. More harmonization in the regulatory field would be beneficial to all participants. Different legislative requirements in different areas in the world are causing barriers for innovations and trade. We all have the common goal: safe materials for humans and environment.
What are some of the biggest opportunities in this industry? What changes and developments are you hoping to see in the coming years?
The population is increasing in the world. As a food contact material supplier, we are part of the chain that is trying to reduce the hunger by providing materials that prevent food from spoiling during distribution. We also need to save resources and reduce the food and materials lost as waste and leave a better world for the future generations.
Even though this year’s event has gone virtual, we’re still bringing together thought leaders from across the supply chain to discuss the latest updates and inspire important conversations. Why is an event like this important to this industry?
Events like this are bringing together specialists in different fields to communicate, meet colleagues, and learn from new solutions, requirements, and trends. The food contact material field is a very specific one, and it is important to share knowledge and innovations within the area.
Your presentation will focus on preventing food waste with safe, plastic-free, and fluorochemical-free paperboard materials. What are some key take-aways?
The need for packaging materials is increasing as packaging is needed worldwide to prevent food waste. However, the demands for materials are getting tougher. Materials have to keep the food safe for human consumption, and the material itself needs to be safe for humans and nature. We also have to take the circular economy into account and think about the environmental impact. In this aspect, paperboard is a good choice as it’s recyclable and already widely recycled. Metsä Board has a plastic free barrier solution, MetsäBoard Prime FBB EB, and we are actively developing other new materials in this field.