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Plastics make it possible

Posted 17/02/2010 by RoseS

Americans have rediscovered the food lessons the British took to heart during World War II – leftovers. Not that they really ever forgot them as ‘doggy bags’ and their more recent incarnation – the polystyrene clam-shell – have been a feature of US restaurant dining for many years. But as the American Chemistry Council (ACC) has recently reported: ‘In today’s cost-conscious economy, consumers are making choices to help them stretch every dollar.’ And where food is concerned this means reusing leftovers, but also eating smaller portions and cutting out on restaurant visits – so smaller doggy bags. They are also buying in bulk and trying not to create food waste.

So what has caused this sudden food interest at the ACC? A new survey, of course!

‘Nearly two-thirds of Americans indicate they have change their food consumption patterns because of the economy, and 80% of Americans say their families make a point of eating leftovers to save money, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Plastics Make It Possible, an initiative sponsored by the ACC’s plastics division. Other findings show that 72% of Americans pack lunch for themselves or their children, and 94% feel good when they store and reuse food rather than throwing it away.

‘I think what we are seeing today is very much a ‘back to basics’ approach when it comes to meal time,’ says Steve Russell, vice president of the ACC plastics division. ‘Proper storage of fresh food and leftovers goes a long way to helping ensure consumers get the most out of every meal.’

And how should they store this fresh and leftover food?

In air-tight plastic containers, of course.

According to the survey, 80% of those surveyed said that plastic containers and plastic wrap have made planning family meals easier. And those plastic bags and containers also make it easy to prepare and conveniently store an entire week’s worth of meals at once, says the ACC. And those same products of the chemical industry can help with portion control. ‘In fact, 56% of Americans say they are looking for products that help them practice portion control,’ says another part of the survey.

So nothing really is new, given that Tupperware, developed in 1946, and those infamous parties that date back to the early 1950s were a symbol of US technical advance in the kitchen. Tupperware is still with us and can now be purchased on the internet, although Germany has pipped the US at the post as the largest consumer of these ubiquitous containers.

So it is true: there is nothing new under the sun.

Neil Eisberg, Editor

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