NASHVILLE — The 2024 Annual Meat Conference featured a discussion of upcoming packaging mandates that retailers and their supplier partners must get up to speed on to continue to thrive in a new, more Earth-friendly world.

“If you haven’t thought about taking action,” said Ameripen executive director Dan Felton, “there are regulators who think they can take action for you, and you may not like their decisions.”

California is first up. Its new packaging law, set to go into effect sometime in 2025, will definitely impact meat packaging, Felton said.

Of course, meat packaging isn’t like other types of food packaging, said Myra Hughes Foster, vice president, sustainability innovation and strategy, at Sealed Air Corporation.

Unfortunately, Foster said, many food packaging guidelines and regulations are influenced by CPG companies that don’t have the same food safety and other restrictions that limit the design and production of fresh meat packaging.

Those restrictions make fresh meat packaging “essential” packaging, Foster said. And like other industries with similar requirements that make their packaging essential, the meat and poultry industry needs to push for exemptions to some of the new laws and regulations to ensure the safety and proper delivery of their products.

This article is an excerpt from the April 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire AMC '24 feature and more in the digital edition here.