Impacts of your Queal diet on packaging and the use of plastic.
February 1st 2019
So far three topics about the (positive) impacts of your Queal diet passed by. In the first blog post, we talked about how the usage of complete foods can contribute to the “freeing” of agricultural land. Then, we told you all about the term Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) and its importance and our last post was about time-management, stress and healthy meals.
Now it’s time for another perspective on the positive impacts of your Queal or complete foods usage: the (saving on) food packaging!
Why we think it's important.
Packaging and its developments has had an immense impact on the food industry. The first - and quite essential - need for developing packaging was, of course, to protect our food during transportation and keeping it fresh. Then over the years, along with industrial improvements in general, the packaging of our food and beverages became more advanced and we discovered many materials and techniques that can help us store, preserve, protect and/or transport in a better or more efficient way.
Next to these practical improvements, with developments in rules and regulations about nutrition and labeling, packing has been given an extra function. Last but not least, we cannot deny the massive effects packaging design has on today’s food marketing.
Although these improvements - mainly the practical ones - have had major impact on how long we can store our food and beverages, i.e. food waste and the the loss of nutrients, it’s safe to say that - in general - we’ve gone a little too far.
The problem? Well, first of all, a great part of the materials we use to (temporarily) store our foods in are made out of non-recycled (new) and or non-biodegradable materials. Then, after usage, we do or cannot recycle it. Or worse: we do not properly throw them away.
Why it's important for you.
It’s safe to say that plastics, although relatively cheap, and greatly applicable when it comes to the packaging of food, are the biggest problem. Plastics are derived from crude oil, which is - in the first place - a natural resource. Still, in order to become an eventual usable material, it has to undergo a lot of processes.
These processes cost a lot of energy and most of the eventual plastic packaging is either used for only a very short amount of time, non-recyclable on it’s own (because of a mix of materials), thrown away and burnt as residual waste. Then, even worse, the main part of plastic materials are non-biodegradable so when waste does end up in nature (like with the Plastic Soup) it can take up to a 1000 years for it to decompose.
And we haven’t even talked about over-packaging. This is when - for example - a bunch of cookies is already packaged safe and preservable, but then get packaged in a cardboard box again. Or when a bunch of bananas, in their skins (nature’s own packaging), gets packaged in a plastic sleeve.
If we do not recycle our natural resources in the right way, they’re ending. All materials we simply waste are never coming back. Or, at least, not in times of our own lifespan.
Something has to chance. We need to rethink, and most of all: we need to recycle.
What we have accomplished so far.
Let’s set up a fun little experiment here, and image going shopping for a day worth of food. What do you end up with? Maybe a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, two apples, rice, chicken filet, broccoli and granola bars. Ok, great job! Now look at your basket, how many of the products are packaged? Probably all of them, right?
Now, compare your basket to a day worth of nutritionally complete Steady shakes. One pouch holds three 700 kilocalorie shakes, so that’s one whole day of food in a single pouch. Of course, you might not be living entirely on our shakes or you use Ready instant oat meal or the Go bars instead. Still, compared to your basket of “regular” foods for a day, it’s quite a win. Our awesome Queal customers together have reduced plastic waste by over 100 US ton so far. That's amazing, right?!
And what about the future? - We cannot tell you if the “regular food products” have recyclable packaging, either if you separate your waste and if the country you live in supports the recycling of a certain packaging. But what we can tell you is that we, as Queal, are working hard on improving our (already quite minimal) packaging and we have some great news to share when it comes to our (currently non-recyclable) pouches!
First of all: the reason they current packaging is not recyclable in every country yet. This is because we use a layered material containing both plastic and aluminium. The aluminium coating strengthens the film, and helps keep light out, which prevents the degrading of vitamins and minerals, an important protection for our nutritionally complete meals. Thanks to current innovations though, there will be a new type of opaque plastic pouches (PET 1 material) that are both light proof and suitable for recycling in most countries. We will start to use these new pouches in 2019, and will keep you updated via our improvements blog posts and improvements timeline.