Repack-network: sustainable food packaging

Food packaging is one of the main sources of plastic waste; it has short utilization cycles, frequently ends up in the environment, and is rarely reused or recycled. The project “Repack-network: sustainable food packaging” monitors, supports, and evaluates fourteen research projects that deal with relevant measures in the area of food packaging. In this context, ISOE is particularly investigating the possible societal impact of the projects and is responsible for the area of consumer acceptance and behavioral change.

Research approach

The project “Repack-network: sustainable food packaging” aims to provide scientific support for the funding program “Innovations for the reduction of plastic packaging along the food chain” of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and to evaluate the extent to which objectives are achieved. As a networking and transfer measure, the project supports the funded research projects in terms of content as well as with regard to communication concerning the exchange, synthesis and dissemination of research results. In order to be able to better assess the contribution of the funded projects, the current state of research in various subject areas is evaluated with the help of literature studies. Networking opportunities are offered to promote an exchange between individual research projects with the aim to support the projects in their development of innovative solutions. Complimentary public relations work is intended to strengthen the broad impact of the innovations developed.

The three key topics of the project “Repack-network” are 

  1. the further development of the circular economy of plastic packaging,
  2. developing and optimizing packaging solutions with the provisio of using less plastic, and
  3. acceptance and behavioral change among consumers.

The ISOE research team will compile a short expert report on key topic 3 in a literature review. As the project progresses, topic-specific workshops will be held with the respective project managers. In addition, high-profile events and knowledge transfer formats are planned to increase the sustainable impact of the fourteen research projects. Subsequently, transferable knowledge from the research projects will be generated in order to derive target group specific recommendations for action. 


The innovation program of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) that was introduced in 2006, aims to support and accelerate technical and non-technical innovations for the reduction of plastic packaging in Germany. This innovation program funds projects that are aimed at innovative products, processes and services for sustainable packaging solutions and that contribute to the reduction of plastic waste along the food chain. Packaging innovations relate both to the direct product packaging of the food and to secondary transport and service packaging. Conflicting objectives that may arise from the different functions of packaging (e.g. packaging as information carrier, protection of the food) must be taken into account. The research project “Repack-network: sustainable food packaging” is intended to help evaluate the funding program and to combine knowledge and innovations achieved in the funded projects with a subsequent presentation to the public.

Research and project partners

  • Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) (project management)
  • Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung (GVM) 
  • CEval GmbH
  • Sustainable Packaging Institute (SPI) of the Albstadt-Sigmaringen University of Applied Sciences


The project “Repack-network: sustainable food packaging” was commissioned by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE).


2023/11 – 2027/11