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Minding the Gap:

Consumer Awareness of Packaging & Food Waste Reduction

MSU’s research and data highlight an opportunity to support the development of packaging designs that extend food shelf life and reduce waste, and to educate consumers about the important role that packaging plays in achieving those goals. Because many U.S. consumers lack basic knowledge of packaging technologies – including the different materials, formats, and features that help prevent waste among various food items – there is a pressing need for greater awareness, especially among segments of the population that waste more food than others.

AMERIPEN Food Waste Study Report Cover

About the Study


Effective packaging can help keep food fresh longer and divert it from landfills, but it’s imperative that the public become better informed about the important role packaging plays in reducing waste. A new report by researchers at Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) School of Packaging found that many U.S. consumers don’t fully understand how different types of packaging can preserve food and stretch household food budgets. Many are unaware that reducing food waste helps combat climate change by cutting the amount of methane gas emitted into the atmosphere from decomposing food in our nation’s landfills. If consumers knew more about the extensive economic and ecological benefits of packaging, they would factor it into their purchasing decisions at the grocery store, according to the research.

What Will You Learn

  • Consumer expectations of packaging
  • Priority technologies, formats and materials
  • Strategies for improving consumer awareness around packaging’s ability to reduce food waste
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