Monday, June 18, 2007

Excess Package

The following article caught my attention. Looked down the list to find only the products of one company (Duchy Originals) are regularly found in our household.

While we did not buy the Duchy Easter Egg (we found the Divine Fairtrade mini-eggs very tasty and good value) and only bought one Easter Egg for the whole family, we do often buy Duchy sausages which come in waxed paper and just a small band of card round the sausages.

We are one of those families that shop with packaging in mind.

"It's OK for you," some would say, "if you could afford to buy Duchy." The truth is we save a lot of money simply by cutting out all crisps, fizzy pop, sweets and chocolates. Because what we eat tends to be more expensive, we eat less and appreciate it more.

The end-result: a healthier lifestyle.

Campaign breakthrough as food giants agree to cut packaging
By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Published: 15 June 2007 Timesonline

Some of the world's most powerful food and drink manufacturers have pro-mised to reduce packaging on a large range of everyday products, including Oxo, Hovis and Coca-Cola.

In the biggest success so far for The Independent's Campaign Against Waste, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Mars and other multinational companies have committed to halt the relentless rise in packaging by next year and to reverse it by 2010. The backing of nine major grocery suppliers for the Courtauld Commitment, the Government's voluntary agreement on packaging, should mean saving thousands of tonnes of plastic and paper from landfill in the next three years.

Thirteen major retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Boots signed the commitment after a ministerial summit at the Courtauld Gallery in London in March 2005, followed a year later by agreement with Heinz, Northern Foods and Unilever. Today, those 16 signatories are joined by multinational manufacturers including the world's biggest food company, Nestlé, Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd, the British arm of the world's biggest soft drinks maker, the country's two biggest confectioners, Mars and Cadbury Schweppes, and Premier Foods whose brands range from Quorn to Mr Kipling.

The other four are the soft drinks company Britvic, the chilled food retailer Dairy Crest, the own-brand household products maker McBride, and Duchy Originals, the Prince of Wales's organic brand .

Duchy Originals was responsible for one of the most overpackaged Easter eggs in a survey by The Independent, which launched the Campaign Against Waste on 22 January. Since then, 169 MPs have signed a Commons motion backing our campaign, and demanded action from manufacturers and retailers.

Each year an estimated 6.3 million tonnes of packaging reaches British homes, costing the average family more than £400. By 2008, the Courtauld Commitment aims to "design out" the rise in packaging and, by 2010, to cut packaging by 340,000 tonnes, 5 per cent, though signatories have individual targets as high as 25 per cent.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap) said the influx of manufacturers would ensure the 340,000-tonne target was reached "easier and quicker." Liz Goodwin, Wrap's chief executive, said: "These are the manufacturers that have the biggest brands that are sold in all kinds of places from the major retailers to the corner shops."

Asked what had motivated the companies, Dr Goodwin said: "I think they genuinely realise it's no longer acceptable to have so much packaging. Consumers don't want it and they are responding to public pressure. Environmental issues have never been higher on the agenda."
Companies will use a range of methods from "lightweighting" - slimming down materials such as bottles or cans - to "de-layering", removing unnecessary wrapping.

Cadbury Schweppes, whose brands range from Dairy Milk chocolate and Crème Eggs to the 7Up fizzy drink, has committed to using wholly recoverable or biodegradable packaging by 2010. "We have set a target of a 10 per cent total reduction in packaging and 25 per cent in seasonal gifting," said Alex Cole, corporate responsibility director.

Alastair Sykes, chairman and chief executive of Nestlé UK & Ireland, said: "This partnership will benefit the environment, reduce waste and improve efficiency, so it creates shared value for our business and the wider community."

Although many food companies have agreed to the Courtauld Commitment a few have not, such as Pepsico, the owner of Walkers and Tropicana, and the Associated British Foods, which owns British Sugar, Allied Bakeries (maker of Kingsmill and Sunblest breads) and Primark.
Wrap said it expects more companies to sign the commitment in the next few months. In the meantime, it is planning a campaign to highlight the 6.7 million tonnes of food thrown away every year.

Big business gets the message

Nine companies with a combined annual turnover of £9bn have taken the campaign onboard:

Drinks such as Tango, R Whites lemonade and Robinsons cordials, including FruitShoot. Bottles Pepsi in UK

Cadbury Schweppes
Cadbury chocolate as well as Butterkist, Maynards, Trebor and Trident. Soft drinks business include Snapple.

Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd
British arm of world's biggest fizzy drink company, making Coca-Cola, Fanta, Lilt, Powerade, Capri-Sun and Sprite.

Dairy Crest
Portfolio includes Cathedral City, Country Life, Clover, St Ivel, Utterly Butterly and Vitalite

Duchy Originals
The Prince of Wales's organic brand which markets premium biscuits, yoghurts, puddings, sweets and soups, among others.

Mars UK (formerly Masterfoods)
Major confectionery business responsible for Mars bars, Milky Way, Snickers, Twix as well as substantial pet food business, owning Whiskas and Pedigree

Makes own brand household and personal products for the likes of supermarkets including Asda

Nestlé UK
The world's biggest food multinational. Breakfast cereals Shredded Wheat, coffee brand Nescafe, KitKat and Smarties confectionery, Nesquik and Vittel and Perrier mineral waters.

Premier Foods
Food giant behind many traditional products, such as Ambrosia, Angel Delight, Bird's, Bisto, Branston, Crosse & Blackwell, Gale's Hovis, Mothers Pride, Mr Kipling, Oxo, Sarsons, and Sharwood's.

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