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Has the Ham Gone Off? Look at the Label, Sainsbury’s Says

The latest development in sustainable packaging – with an eye to reducing food waste – comes from grocery store chain Sainsbury’s. The UK grocer is launching a new packaging “smart label” on its store-brand ham that changes color depending on how long the package has been open, telling the consumer if the product is still safe to eat. The edibility of the ham inside the package – and therefore the color of the label – also depends on the temperature of the refrigerator in which the ham is stored.

Jane Skelton, head of packaging at Sainsbury’s, says the company created the packaging in the hopes of reducing waste while helping customers save money, writes The Grocer. Last year, Sainsbury said it had reduced waste by more than half after moving more beefsteak lines into vacuum packing.

The UK is the worst country in Europe in terms of food waste, and the amount of ham wasted in the country is a reported 1.9 million slices per day, according to Sustainable Brands. While estimates of how much food waste is costing the economy have come under question recently – a new study indicates that food waste is being overestimated to such an extent that it could have profound consequences when it comes to public policy – there seems to be no doubt in the minds of food manufacturers and retailers that food waste remains a problem. Along with Sainsbury’s, other retailers working to curb food waste include IKEA, which has implemented a smart-scale solution with a goal of cutting waste in its food operations by 50% by the end of August 2020, and Kroger, which has launched a program intended to help it reach its goal of zero-waste by 2020.

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