Senior Lecturer in Environment and Energy systems, Karlstad University
Helén Williams is a senior lecturer in Environment and Energy systems at Karlstad university. Her vision is to create knowledge for innovative packaging development that contributes to a sustainable development. Specifically, she wants to understand how packaging attributes can help consumers to act in a way that reduces the environmental impact of specific food items. The most important attribute of packaging is usually to minimise the waste of the packaged food. PhD Williams is a frequently invited speaker, to inspire and educate in governmental organisations, in companies, and in business and research conferences. She also organizes the international Packaging Saves Food Research Group that was established in 2016.
1. Which aspect of the food waste problem is the most relevant for you?
Develop understanding of how packaging reduces food waste and more specifically how packaging attributes can influence consumer behaviour to waste less food. We need to move from generalized data to product specific data.
2. What do you think is the best way to make improvements in this area?
We need to understand the context in which consumers purchase, store and consume food to understand which packaging attributes that are critical for food waste behaviour for different food items and among different consumers in different situations.
3. Can you already discover a positive development in this area?
There are stakeholders, like brand owners and packaging companies, that want to understand how the attributes of packaging influence food waste and that also want to develop new improved packaging solutions.
4. What institutional measures would you like to see in the future?
An environmental packaging legislation that take into account the reduction of food waste as well as reduction of the amount of packaging material. Subventions and tax reductions on food can be reduced or removed to make food and/or food waste more costly.
5. Which role does the Initiative SAVE FOOD play in fighting food losses and food waste in your opinion?
An arena where the complexity of food waste is discussed and best practices are presented and different stakeholders come together and recognise the importance of collaborations and find new collaborators.