Air Products has launched an interactive, online tool to allow food manufacturers to assess which packing provides the best solution for minimising food waste and reducing the carbon footprint of a product.

Unveiled last week (26th Feb), the new tool will help both start-ups and major brands to calculate the packaging solution with the smallest environmental impact simply by entering the food product type, the product weight and the packaging type.

The tool, which is driven by verified, independent data from a range of sustainability studies as well as Air Product’s own research, produces a comparative graph displaying both the food waste and packing impact on carbon dioxide emissions.

According to a statement, the calculator then produces a snapshot of related sustainability benchmarks to highlight the overall environmental impact of each packaging solution.

Commenting on the new release, Dr. Sonia Guri, Food Technology Lead at Air Products, said, “There is a huge drive -in society today to reduce our plastic waste as we move towards a more sustainable future. But when reviewing carbon footprint, manufacturers must be careful to consider the full picture, and that includes the carbon impact of food waste.”

“In some instances, we run the risk of causing even greater damage to the environment if we ban plastics in fresh food packaging without carefully researching the effect of its replacements.”

“The global impact of food waste on the environment is significant. MAP plays a key role in keeping food fresher for longer, but as things stand MAP is currently most effective when used with plastics. It’s important to bear this in mind as we strive to find more sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions such as MAP in compostable and recyclable plastics.

“We hope this new tool will allow food manufacturers to make the most sustainable choice when it comes to packaging their food products and to be transparent in that choice.”