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10 May, 2022

Rising input costs call for proactive packaging strategies

Our Food & AgriBusiness team urges Irish SMEs to get their packaging right to curb their costs and impact on the environment

Today we launch our Packaging Report 2022, titled ‘Get Your Packaging Right’, to help Irish SMEs and food businesses improve their packaging strategies, reduce costs and ultimately minimise their impact on the environment. 

Following the Cabinet’s recent approval of the Circular Economy Bill that aims to reduce waste and influence behaviour to help significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (including incentivising the use of reusable and recyclable alternatives to a range of wasteful single-use disposable packaging and other items), this timely report outlines the environmental impact of packaging and the rising costs facing Irish food business. 

It also highlights the ways packaging can work as an effective salesperson for brands, what retailers are looking for, the funding options available for packaging, as well as some of the emerging packaging solutions on the market such as sugarcane and seaweed. In addition, the report features case studies and helpful learnings from Irish food businesses - Finnegan’s Farm fresh produce and performance nutrition brand, All Real. 

The central tenant of our Packaging Report 2022, is the importance for food businesses to conduct a packaging audit to put them in control of rising input costs. An audit helps them to identify ways to do things better and it examines processes, suppliers, materials, internal and external teams, branding and the cost associated with packaging. Once businesses understand all the basics, they can look at how some of the emerging trends have the potential to deliver more sustainable packaging solutions for their businesses. 

The report also signposts Irish food businesses to ifac’s Packaging Cost Calculator. This free tool will help any food business owner to get a real sense of the actual combined cost of packaging for their products; they can use it to itemise individual packaging costs and examine how volume increases or decreases can impact unit costs. 

Lorcan Bannon, ifac Associate Director, Food and Agribusiness, said: 

Now more than ever, Irish food businesses need to have a well-thought-through strategy to manage their approach to packaging. Sustainability, a brand's presence on the retail and digital shelves and the incorporation of emerging packaging trends are all key considerations. 

We also encourage businesses to analyse the costs associated with their packaging through the use of the ifac Packaging Cost Calculator and our packaging audit template. These tools are practical ways to ensure that packaging is helping your business to grow instead of holding it back. Food businesses that invest in a packaging audit, including identifying in-house strengths and current weaknesses within their approach to packaging and the opportunities and threats that exist, can see a significant positive impact on their business.