Environmental Analysis of Packaging‐Derived Changes in Food Production and Consumer Behavior

11 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020

See all articles by Naoki Yokokawa

Naoki Yokokawa

University of Tokyo - Department of Chemical System Engineering

Emi Kikuchi‐Uehara

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Eri Amasawa

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Hirokazu Sugiyama

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Masahiko Hirao

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 2019

Abstract

This study analyzed the environmental impacts of packaging‐derived changes in food production and consumer behavior to assist packaging designers in making environmentally conscious decisions. Packaging can be functionalized to prevent food loss and waste (FLW), for example, extending the expiration date and apportioning the package size, but it can generate additional environmental impacts from changes in food and packaging production. Previous studies assessed additional impacts from packaging production; however, the effects of packaging functionalization are yet to be connected with food production and consumer behavior. To examine the effect of functionalization on these aspects, we analyzed packaging‐derived changes in food production for milk and cabbage products. The case study compared products with functionalized packaging that permits a longer expiration date or a smaller portion size to their base‐case products. Our results showed that the packaging‐derived changes increased the global warming potential (GWP) of food production more than other processes did. Thus, changes in food production weakened the effectiveness of the packaging functionalization to decrease the GWP. Moreover, the analysis of consumer behavior scenarios showed that consumers’ perception of the expiration date decisively influences the effectiveness of packaging functionalization. When consumers discarded food after the expiration date, provided they consumed in small quantities, the packaging functionalization reduced FLW. From the scenario analysis, we identified appropriate combinations of packaging functionalization and consumer behaviors to effectively decrease total GWP. With our expanded analysis, packaging designers can understand the effectiveness of their decisions on the product life cycle in reducing FLW and environmental impacts.

Keywords: consumption pattern, expiration date, food loss and waste, life cycle assessment (LCA), packaging functionality, scenario analysis

Suggested Citation

Yokokawa, Naoki and Kikuchi‐Uehara, Emi and Amasawa, Eri and Sugiyama, Hirokazu and Hirao, Masahiko, Environmental Analysis of Packaging‐Derived Changes in Food Production and Consumer Behavior (October 2019). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 23, Issue 5, pp. 1253-1263, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3608848 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12918

Naoki Yokokawa (Contact Author)

University of Tokyo - Department of Chemical System Engineering ( email )

7-3-1 Hongo
Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, 113
Japan

Emi Kikuchi‐Uehara

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Eri Amasawa

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Hirokazu Sugiyama

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Masahiko Hirao

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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