Consumers perception on biodegradable food packaging materials in Kumba 1 municipality
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Food packaging material is consumed everyday as food. The packaging materials are termed waste and if they accumulate, they may be harmful to the environment and the population especially if they are made up mostly of plastics which non biodegradable.
This study aims to know the perception of consumers on biodegradable food packaging materials in Kumba 1 municipality.
Specifically, to determine the socio economic characteristics of consumers how are eating in ready to eat restaurants ,investigate their behaviour and attitudes towards the use of biodegradable and non biodegradable as well as assess their health and environmental benefits of using biodegradable food packaging.
This study use quantitative research design where a primary source of data was used as questionnaire and were administer; to a sample of 100 people in Kumba 1 .
The main result shows that non biodegradable food packaging material is harmful to the environment and human system and hence its use should be discouraged in our communities .
Conclusively the study shows that the population of Kumba 1 municipality are aware that non biodegradable packaging destroy the environment, and they are also have a positive attitude towards biodegradable plant packaging.
The study recommends that ,the government should subsidies firms ample barriers that are into the production of biodegradable food packaging as well educate the consumers more on it to better effect its use.
The key words of this study is perception ,consumers, biodegradable, and non biodegradable and Kumba 1 municipality; this study is perception ,consumers, the study sought to investigate consumers knowledge of the risks associated to the use of non-biodegradable packaging in Kumba 1 municipality, to examine consumers’ behaviour and attitudes towards the use of biodegradable plant packaging in Kumba municipality and to assess the health and environmental benefits of using biodegradable packaging from plant origin in Kumba municipality.
This study used a quantitative research design and primary source of data was used as questionnaires were administered to a sample of 100 people in Kumba 1.
Findings showed that non-biodegradable plant packaging is harmful to the environment and human system and hence its use should be discouraged in our communities.
In very old days, the people did not concentrate more on packaging. This was due to the fact that commodities were consumed in their raw states either on the spot or sometimes people lived close to their farms mostly in rural areas.
This is due to the fact that, the society had not developed to the extent and there was no competition that could push people to think in a specific way to manufacture and sell products. As time went on due to evolution and migration the need for and production of packaging started developing gradually.
The earliest form of packaging is when man started keeping some of his wares in leaves and shells as containers which is endowed by nature. The information which is oldest on package manufacturing is available to the research dated as 1844, when paper production was introduced in Europe.
The purpose of food packaging is to preserve the quality and safety of the food it contains from the time of manufacture to the time it is used by the consumer. An equally important function of packaging is to protect the product from physical, chemical, or biological damage
Packaging started in a different form, from what we know today. Unlike those days where it was by the use of animal skins, shells, broad leaves and hard “skin” fruits and vegetables. Liquids were stored in containers made from animal skins, hollowed out logs, gourds, coconuts and shells.
In the Ancient Roman Empires and Egypt, materials such as clay were used as containers. Later they now introduced glass, metal and paper for their invention and therefore used for packaging. Butter and cheese were kept in baskets, vinegar in barrels, and tea in chests whilst grains were put in sacks during the Victorian times. Hook et al, 2007
The branded package was first introduced in England by Dr. Robert James in the year 1746. And he packaged his “Fever-Powder” in a box for retailing. Yardley of London packaged his famous lavender water in glass bottles, whilst Crosse and Blackwell also branded olive oil and mustard in jars.
The method of packaging was done to preserve food. In 1795, when the French War was started, at the time there was an urgent need for food preservation for soldiers in the war. As a result, food had to be canned.
The famous French warrior Napoleon Bonaparte realizing the need to preserve and transport food to his army offered a prize to reward anyone who could find answers to his demands. In 1809, Nicholas Appert, invented the process of canning by introducing an airtight glass jar to win the prize.
By this, he introduced canning and further developed to the light weight cans of today. Rennert-Ariev et al, 2009
Packaging materials have traditionally been chosen for convenient and to avoid unwanted interaction with food. In 20th-century packaging developments such as packages incorporating antimicrobials and oxygen scavengers have been established new precedents for prolonging shelf-life and protecting food from environmental inﬂuences.
These new packaging systems are called active packaging. Nevertheless, omnipresent global trends such as increased industrial processing of food, greater importation and exportation of food products, and less time for preparation of fresh foods compel the food and beverage packaging industry to investigate newer, more advanced packaging solutions to meet the demand for healthier, safer, functional, and cheaper, as well as more convenient processed foods.
Other elements of increasing importance in food packaging include trace ability, tamper indication, and sustainability. These newer packaging systems are called smart packaging. Adoption to smart packaging makes the packaging to extend the shelf life of the product, even it improves the quality, safety and work on to provide information of the product. Mahalik, 2009
The most well-known packaging materials that meet these criteria are polyethylene or co-polymer based materials, which have been in use by the food industry for over 50 years. These materials are not only safe, inexpensive, versatile, but also flexible.
Plastics are widely used in many applications such as in packaging, building materials and commodities as well as in hygiene products. However, the problem of environmental pollution caused by the indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste has assumed a global proportion.
However, one of the limitations with plastic food packaging materials is that it is meant to be discarded, with very little being recycled. These conventional plastics that are synthetically derived from petroleum are not readily biodegradable and are considered as environmentally harmful waste. Grunert, 2011
Although developing countries like Cameroon still face several challenges in managing commingled wastes, recovering and recycling individual components of the waste stream for reuse and production of recycled-based products is economically plausible.
Despite the fact that suitably organized collection systems may be lacking, individual components can still be recovered through locally adaptable designed approaches. Such individual components that can be recovered and recycled include: aluminium, plastics, paper and other components of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).
Electronic waste generation is also on an increase in Cameroon and most of such waste stays longer within households. Such wastes for example, constitute a major contributor of lead to landfills. Of great importance in a collection scheme is the role played by consumers or the public.
Although this group is critical to success in recycling, it may not be the question of how many people do participate but how well they do. Thus the values people place on and the attitude they show towards environmental issues can be seen as a measure of how well they may participate in recycling and recovery. Asong, 2006
Most of the populations in the world today live in cities ,same in kumba and kumba 1 municipality where they lack arable farmland for subsistence agriculture. About 3.5 billion people in the planet’s cities buy their products outside from home and these products usually come packaged.
Also, the increase in numbers of single member households, people prefer having outside food which are packaged food, which leads to rise in food packaging materials waste.
This package materials when made mostly of plastic materials which are non biodegradable, its accumulation can cause harm to the environment. Hence, there is need to promote products and brands that are environmentally friendly to inform consumers about these products and to raise the environmental awareness of customers.
Although current practices are effective, like the banning of plastics by the government of Cameroon in February 13th2014 there are still many issues faced by the retailers including the materials used and possible interactions they may have with food, especially when food plastics are reused.
Packaging is an important step when it comes to protecting our products, ensuring our high standards of quality and avoiding food waste Perrea et al, 2017
Food packaging is essential and performs many disparate tasks, protects food from contamination and spoilage, easier for transportation and in storage, maintains uniform measurement of contents. It is recognized that chemicals from packaging and other food contact materials can migrate into the food and be ingested by the consumer.
Abdullahi talks about migration of chemicals from packaging materials into the food depend on Composition of the packaging material, nature and extent of contact, nature of the food, temperature of contact, duration of contact and Mobility of the chemicals in the packaging. Bolaji, 2010
Most available discussions and highlights regarding food packaging are mainly related to the economic and environmental elements while consumer demand has been acknowledged as one of the most important factors for food packaging.
So while consumer elements like consumer perceptions are acknowledged as influential, research is relatively scarce. A reason for the scarcity is that when maximizing and improving food packaging materials, even though this relies on technological as well as social factors, the relevance and importance of the behavioural aspects is being neglected.
Understanding consumer attitudes and perception towards biodegradable food packaging materials may give those companies a competitive advantage. For consumers a better understanding of their perceptions on biodegradable food packaging materials may lead to a better correspondence with consumer demand. Wever, 2008
- What are consumers Knowledge of the risks associated to the use of non-biodegradable packaging in Kumba 1 municipality?
- What are consumers’ behaviour and attitudes towards the use of biodegradable plant packaging in Kumba municipality?
- What are the health and environmental benefits of using biodegradable packaging from plant origin in Kumba municipality?
To carryout consumers perception on biodegradable food packaging materials in Kumba 1 municipality
- To investigate consumers Knowledge of the risks associated to the use of non-biodegradable packaging in Kumba 1 municipality
- To examine consumers’ behaviour and attitudes towards the use of biodegradable plant packaging in Kumba municipality
- To assess the health and environmental benefits of using biodegradable packaging from plant origin in Kumba municipality
Further reading:Consumers perception on biodegradable food packaging materials