The BioCannDo project was born out of the increased need to raise public awareness about bio-based products by developing multi-stakeholder proven communication key messages, engage a European stakeholder network and develop relevant communication formats and education materials. In order to achieve these outcomes the project is organising a number of expert and public engagement activities.
On 28 September 2018 in Turin BioCannDo hosted a product expert workshop on bio-based food packaging materials. In the workshop, the experts were asked to identify the issues producers and retailers face in relation to bio-based food packaging. In their opinion the main issues for both producers and retailer are communication around the materials, the price, the technical requirements and properties as well as the market (share) these materials currently or potentially occupy. Additionally, producers face challenges with regard to regulation and public perception, whereas retailers struggle with a clear definition of the materials and a possible label.
In the second part of the workshop, the draft key messages developed to communicate functionality and sustainability aspects of bio-based food packaging to the broad public were discussed with the experts to give them the opportunity to improve these. In summary, the experts think the following six topics are most important in communicating about bio-based food packaging materials:
- compliance with European health and safety regulations,
- recycling is the preferred end-of-life option,
- bio-based does not mean that packaging id automatically biodegradable or compostable,
- the use of agricultural by-products as feedstock means that feedstock does not need to be specifically produced,
- new and even better materials are currently being researched to overcome current limitations, and
- bio-based food packaging is partly or wholly made from renewable resources.
Based on the outcomes of the workshop the communication key messages will be further fine-tuned and then discussed with citizens in consumer focus groups later this year.
This interactive workshop took place alongside the IFIB 2018 on the 27th of September.