Are you a young professional or student?
Are you registered for the 25th biennial SAAFoST congress in Cape Town?
Do you consume ready to eat products?
If you answered yes/maybe to the questions above. Put your thinking caps on and register for the MySAAFoST Food Sustainability hackathon.
In recent times ready to eat food products have become quite popular with consumers. RTE foods are convenient, easy to open and cater for a large demographic. Packaging is an essential part of food manufacturing, not only to contain and protect food but is the first point of contact that the consumer makes with the product. Inadvertently, packaging represents the environmental values of the manufacturer and brand. Thus, many consumers prior to buying a product may consider the packaging of the product such as easy to use, labelling, aesthetic appeal, packaging type and material. Packaging material may not be sustainable and contribute to plastic waste which ends up in landfills and water systems. In South Africa, we currently have the “reduce, reuse and recycle” waste management system for both food and non-food items. However, that still has not curbed the amount of packaging waste generated. According to Sam Upton (2021) packaging is designed around the product rather than the person. Which to a certain extent may contribute to the large amount of packaging material waste. With regards to the end user, some packaging designs do not cater for all consumers particularly for people living with disabilities. According to the South African Disabilities Association 7.5% of the South African population currently lives with visible and non-visible disabilities.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, following the framework provided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN 2006) sets out the inclusion of people with disabilities as a significant contributor to reducing poverty and increasing economic growth, in addition to ensuring the rights and full participation of all, including people with disabilities (UN 2015).
What does a food package that is inclusive of all consumers looks like and functions like? What does sustainable packaging mean for all consumers? See what MySAAFoST members have to discuss about this topic at the SAAFoST Congress 2023. Get those thinking caps on.
Remember, in South Africa disability awareness is recognized on 3 September 2023 – Casual Day as well as on 3 December 2023 which is International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Written by: Shanece Ramkisson and Nwabisa Mehlomakulu