You work hard to create delicious, mouth-watering food. Your food deserves packaging that is visually appealing and preserves your food on its delivery journey. Investing in quality packaging is investing in your restaurant. With just a few helpful food packaging tips, you will elevate your take-out game and give your food the vessel it deserves. We will cover everything you need to know to become a food packaging expert.
Traditional Types Of Packaging Materials
There are many types of food delivery packaging to choose from, and the best option for you will depend on your specific needs. The main goal is to make sure that your food arrives in style and not all over the inside of the bag.
There are many basic food packaging materials to choose from. However, many of the standard go-to options are becoming antiquated as society becomes more eco-conscious. Such common materials include:
- Styrofoam: It’s good for insulating cold or hot foods, but it is flimsy and terrible for the environment, as it is not biodegradable.
- Plastic: It’s cheap and durable, but it is not environmentally friendly and can sometimes leach toxins into your food.
- Cardboard: It doesn’t insulate well and doesn’t hold up to wet foods. However, it is biodegradable and works great for pizza. As an added bonus, it can easily be printed with your company’s logo.
Eco-friendly packaging is one of the greatest innovations in the food packaging industry. With so many different eco-conscious materials to choose from nowadays, there is no reason why your food packaging shouldn’t be both stylish and designed with the earth in mind. There are many different options when it comes to eco-conscious materials, such as:
- PET Plastic Containers: PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate. These affordable containers are made of recycled plastic that is BPA free; therefore, they won’t leak toxins into your delicious meal. They are also often made from recycled plastic and are 100% recyclable after use—now that’s smart design!
- PLA Plastic Containers: PLA stands for polylactic acid. These inventive containers are made from the sugars in corn, cassava and sugarcane. PLA containers are BPA free, so they won’t contaminate your food with toxins and are safe to use with both hot and cold foods.
- Sugarcane or Bagasse Containers: Sugarcane or “bagasse” is made from sugarcane scraps from sugar production. They require minimal energy to manufacture compared to traditional plastics and are 100% biodegradable. These containers are a great replacement for classic compartmentalized styrofoam containers, as they can withstand greasy foods as well as both hot and cold foods. They are also microwave-safe—take that, styrofoam!
- Poly-coated Kraft Paper Containers: These environmentally friendly containers are made of recyclable kraft paper that is then coated with a poly-coating, keeping it from breaking down after coming in contact with sauces and oils. These containers are suitable for both hot and cold foods. They are especially good for packaging crispy foods, as they have a folding top that allows steam and moisture to escape. This will keep your food nice and crisp.
- Mineral-Filled Polypropylene Containers: These smart containers contain up to 40% natural mineral content, which reduces the overall amount of plastic used. However, it should be noted that these containers do still contain a minimal amount of traditional plastics. They are durable, good for hot and cold foods, are microwavable, and are recyclable after use. These containers are ideal for very saucy foods that need a durable, moisture-resistant vessel.
After you have chosen a type of container for your food you will need to choose an eco-friendly bag to carry the order in. Paper bags are more eco-conscious than plastic. However not all paper bags are created equally. Opt for a paper bag that is both recyclable as well as made from recycled materials. If your food requires a more sturdy delivery package or you are delivering a large order, consider using a box for reinforcement.
Tips For Packaging Success
Now that you are familiar with state-of-the-art packaging materials, it’s time to learn some tips and tricks on how to use them effectively. When packaging your precious food for delivery, it is important that you package with the journey in mind. The last thing you want is to pour your heart and soul into your food, only to have it arrive a sloppy mess. With these tips for packaging success you will be packing your food like a pro in no time.
When packaging food always:
- Separate hot and cold items.
- Keep food hot until it is picked up.
- Separate sides and sauces.
- Wrap sauce containers in foil to prevent spillage.
- Reinforce all lids with a strip of tape.
- Keep food and beverage separate.
There are countless advantages to investing in branded packaging. It is a great way to market your restaurant. Ever wonder why you are constantly receiving pens with advertisements on them? This is an age old marketing strategy that gets your brand out there and reminds the customer who you are. Any restaurant can purchase generic cups and bags, but adding a personalized touch can be a great way to subtly advertise your restaurant.
Branded packaging makes your restaurant look polished and adds a personal touch to every food item you wrap up. Invest in cups that have your brand’s logo on them, bags with your logo stamped on the side and personalized butcher paper. French fries taste way better when they come in a personalized paper holder.
If you operate a delivery restaurant, do not underestimate the power of a cool sticker. Get your restaurant’s logo printed onto a sticker. You can use the stickers to attach the receipt to the bag, or even as a tamper evident seal. Once your paper bag is packed with yummy food, fold down the top and secure it with some branded stickers. This will ensure that your delivery driver doesn’t sneak any bites. You can also use branded stickers to seal the straw hole on beverage lids. Maybe even include some extra stickers as part of your order. When your customers stick them to something, you’ll be getting free exposure–just think of all those personalized pens you seem to find laying around.
If you’re not a design expert, you may want to consider hiring a company like Nextbite, a virtual kitchen space that creates delivery-only restaurant concepts, to help you design your restaurant’s concept and provide premium packaging services. With a little bit of help from the pros, your restaurant will be decked out in personalized, state-of-the-art packaging that will take your business to the next level.
Packaging Of The Future
Did you know that packaging experts have been hard at work creating innovative new packaging? Over the last several years food packaging has evolved to become more eco-friendly than ever. However, scientists have continued to push the boundaries of possibility and managed to create food packaging that is as temporary as the food it protects. Ever wanted to drink your coffee and eat the cup too? Yes, you read that correctly–eat the cup with edible packaging. While this may seem like a silly idea, remember that natural foods come with home grown wrappers all the time. Bananas, oranges, lemons, potatoes and so much more come with built in wrappers that naturally break down and replenish the earth with nutrients.
Scientists have worked to replicate this with innovative food packaging. Edible gel skins have successfully been used to package frozen yogurt and edible, hard containers have been perfected in the form of cookie cups.
Strides have also been made to produce packaging that dissolves in water after use. This technology has become commonly used for laundry pods. Everywhere you look, the packaging industry is growing and evolving to create innovative packaging that is increasingly more eco-friendly. Although most of these packaging advancements are not yet widely available as viable food packaging products, the innovations are a great reminder to never stop improving your business. Even when you think you are operating at the highest standard you are capable of, there is always room for improvement.
You have now learned everything there is to know about innovative food packaging. Remember to keep the earth in mind when deciding what type of packaging to use. Also, don’t underestimate the power of branded packaging. It could be your ticket to success. With some hard work and creativity, you can create packaging that reflects your brand and is good for the earth. Never stop innovating your business practice, who knows, you may even find that selecting the packaging for your restaurant can be fun!