February is Super Bowl month, when many CPG brands will pay $7.0 million for a 30-second spot and hope it resonates with an audience that some expect could reach 117 million viewers.

For the third year in a row, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise is returning to The Big Game, driving awareness around the issue of food waste at home with a message of “Make Taste, Not Waste.”

“The Big Game has been an incredible platform for Hellmann’s to spread the message around how we make food delicious, even those ingredients left behind in your fridge,” said Benjamin Crook, Vice President/GM, Dressings & Condiments (NA) at Unilever. “With the Big Game being the second most wasteful food day of the year in the U.S., it makes sense to use this event to inspire people to get creative in the kitchen and make lasting change at home to eliminate food waste.”

Similarly, many in the packaging industry would like to see a more cohesive national game plan when it comes to combating a different kind of waste – packaging that is recyclable but nevertheless ends up in the landfill.

“The current recycling infrastructure is challenged by collection and sortation equipment that was not designed to handle present-day innovations in flexible packaging. There is a lack of end markets, and businesses and consumers are confused by a patchwork of regulatory regimes,” the National Confectioners Association (NCA) notes. “Solutions to these shared problems need a uniform, comprehensive strategy – developed and implemented in partnership with governments and the entire manufacturing, packaging and recycling supply chain.”

NCA supports extended producer responsibility (EPR) fees as a way to provide important contributions to creating a circular economy, but adds: “There must also be shared responsibility among stakeholders and major improvements by federal, state, and local governments to repair and advance the nation’s broken recycling infrastructure, which cannot yet fully address flexible packaging.”

There’s no denying that recycling can be confusing – especially the recycling of flexible packaging. It will be interesting to see if significant progress is made on this front in 2023. Packaging Strategies will be eager to report on any noteworthy developments.

And perhaps a Hellmann’s/Heisman Trophy could be awarded to the person, company, organization or program doing the most to reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging “waste” going to landfills.

Brad Addington
Chief Editor, Packaging Strategies
(248) 227-4727