Retail Foodservice

Small Changes Add Up to Big Benefits in Sustainability

Sustainability is an issue that touches nearly every aspect of food retailing, from store construction and energy management to product procurement, packaging and food waste.

While massive investments such as rooftop solar panels and energy-efficient refrigeration systems can yield impressive results when it comes to moving the needle on sustainability, small changes that food retailers make in their day-to-day operations can also add up quickly. These can include simple activities such as turning off lights when not in use and finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of packaging.

Consumers increasingly base purchasing decisions on their personal, social and environmental values, and this is especially true of younger consumers who are entering their prime spending years, according to Technomic’s 2018 Generational Consumer Trend Report. In addition, consumers will spend up to 20% more on environmentally sound products, according to a research brief from the Retail Industry Leaders Association, citing data from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).

In its recently released 2019 State of Sustainability in America report, NMI noted that companies that embrace sustainability holistically are reaping benefits beyond energy savings.

“Mainstream consumers are steadily adopting stronger environmental and sustainable ideals, which are affecting not only how they view brands but how they use their buying dollars to make their beliefs known,” the report concludes.

The report also cited the increasing focus on waste reduction, and noted that this is manifesting itself in the way consumers view both packaging as well as food waste. This includes an increasingly negative view of plastics — a view that has been “re-shaping behavior over the past several years,” according to the NMI report.

One way retailers can make a positive impact on the environment is by switching to more environmentally friendly bag closures. The newly developed Eco-Lok bag closures from Kwik Lok® are formulated with a plant-based biopolymer called NuPlastiQ®that requires up to 20% fewer greenhouse gas emissions to produce than standard plastic bag closures.

The new Eco-Lok closures continue to offer the qualities of existing Kwik Lok plastic closures—they are printable, reusable, recyclable and metal-detector compatible, the company said.

“With the launch of Eco-Lok, Kwik Lok is unveiling the next phase of our pledge to provide the best possible closure systems while reducing our environmental impact,” said Don Carrell, CEO of Kwik Lok Corp. “Kwik Lok is committed to protecting people and the planet with our evolving business practices and is working to reduce our portfolio-wide energy usage by 20% by 2025.”

The launch of Eco-Lok follows the publication of Kwik Lok’s first corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, which details the company’s leadership in sustainability and other areas of social responsibility.

Environmentally friendly bag closures complement Kwik Lok’s long history of helping retailers reduce food waste through safe and effective food storage. The company’s closure systems provide retailers and consumers with a practical, time-saving and low-cost way to keep food fresh, manage food shelf life and trace food sources.

Eco-Lok represents another phase in the company’s sustainability evolution, and another small but important tool that retailers can use to help them achieve their own sustainability goals.

This post is sponsored by Kwik Lok