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Increased consumer awareness on the environmental impact of food packaging and food waste is creating a need for improved efficiency in the supply chain.

A new report from Fruit Logistica expects this heightened scrutiny to result in “significant innovation” across both areas.

The impact of packaging is under scrutiny by environmental groups and food retailers are already responding,” says the report.

“Some even say this growing concern should be welcomed, as it adds increased impetus to resolving the challenges of the present generation of packaging.”

The report highlights that existing packaging often leads to loss of quality, consumer dissatisfaction and, inevitably, more waste.

But it also points to problems in the supply chain that are exacerbating issues of short shelf-life.

“The current nature of supply chains adds to the problem, with lengthy times spent in transit leading to loss of product quality and nutritional value,” it says.

“All of these factors result in short shelf-life and lots of waste, with these issues critical in the easy-healthy convenience range, where freshness is directly related to premium.”

In an effort to improve the shelf-life of fresh produce, container line Hamburg Süd has launched a remote container management system, which it has retrofitted to its entire reefer fleet.

Under the new system, customers can use an online platform as well as an app to monitor their cargo in transit, receiving notifications if temperature parameters are breached.

Chief commercial officer Frank Smet said: “It will be a genuine game-changer for the important reefer market.

“The added value lies in the fact that customers can use this data not only to monitor their supply chain better, but also to make it significantly more efficient and secure.”