"No one wants to minimize environmental problems and all the strategies to reduce pollution and/or climate change, but we need to work on shared, reasoned, planned choices based on the real situation of a sector, in this case, the fruit and vegetable sector."
This is what Claudio Gamberini said about the draft regulation on packaging, which will be voted on by the European Parliament on November 22 and by the European Council on December 18.
Gamberini is an expert in the produce sector, with many years of experience as a buyer for major retailers and now as a consultant to companies. "Today, 50 percent of fruits and vegetables are packaged, and to consider eliminating packaging would have serious consequences. First of all, food waste would increase because fruit and vegetables, even those that are not too fragile, deteriorate quickly when they are exposed to handling on the shelves."
"Second," adds Gamberini, "we would lose the premium lines of more mature ready-to-eat products that must be protected, as in the case of persimmons, another delicate fruit."
"If I also think about the retail outlets," Gamberini continues, "it would increase costs because more staff would be needed to handle all the bulk, to constantly control its quality. All of this means one thing, that is, costs that are passed on to the consumer, an increase in the price per kilogram, precisely at a time in history when consumption is declining due to inflation and a decrease in purchasing power."
Another factor that shouldn't be overlooked is that eliminating small packaging, and we're mostly talking about plastic trays (but not only those ), would bring an entire sector, employing tens of thousands, to its knees.
"For the protection of the entire fruit and vegetable sector, I really hope that there will be some rethinking and that this ban will be lifted, both in the Parliament and in the European Council. However, the right way is to continue working on packaging sustainability to protect the environment with operators from the sector, not with a top-down regulation," concludes Gamberini.