Food packaging is a significant part of the catering industry, whether its food delivered to your door, catering or items stocked on the shelves at the supermarket it has to appeal to the buyer- just as much aesthetically as it does appetisingly.
Getting the packaging right is critical when it comes to competitiveness, especially when it comes to food industries. In order to stay ahead of the game and stand out within the ever-growing market, let’s take a look at how you could improve your packaging choices.
The importance of food packaging
Not only does food packaging have to look appealing to the consumer, but it also serves a purpose. It has to protect its contents, maintaining fresh produce and keeping items either hot or cold. If you get it wrong, it could be the start of a downward spiral losing some valued customers, not good for any business.
Customers want food delivered to them that is protected from contamination, that carries the food efficiently so that it arrives looking appealing and maintaining temperatures so that food arrives either hot or cold, depending on what the contents are.
If packaging arrives shoddy and unappealing, it can be rather off-putting to the consumer, no matter how delicious the contents are. It’s only natural that first appearances will determine the minds of the consumer, especially when it comes to food. Nobody wants to eat out of something that doesn’t look great, that’s a fact.
The packaging is the ideal way to build relations between both business and client. A design which enables the consumer to recognise your brand usually helps to build good solid relations as they are more likely to continue ordering, especially if they enjoyed their first experiences at doing so.
Packaging materials and what choices are available
When it comes to catering disposables and choices, there is an abundance of variety. Today, not all choices appeal to all customers, and some may be against certain materials such as non-biodegradable plastic for instance.
So what options are available?
Most common packaging choices are cardboard, corrugated card, paper or box boards, paper bags, plastic, tissue wraps and Styrofoam. All serve a purpose, but some are better choices than others, here are some of the weaknesses and strengths of each of those options:
- Styrofoam- This type of packaging is very good at doing its job, yes it will keep food nice and warm and also do the opposite keeping items cool and fresh, but when it comes to the environmentally friendly factors it’s a big thumbs down I’m afraid since Styrofoam and its ability to biodegrade is somewhat poor. These days it’s considered a bad choice for the environment.
- Plastic- it’s strong and sturdy, plus waterproof so great at keeping food stable, but some plastics are known to leak toxic chemicals into foods plus not a favourable choice when it comes to the environment as its biodegradable factors are known to be highly inefficient.
- Card- Its ideal when it comes to branding and printing and can be great for food providing a delivery service is local because its ability to keep items warm tends to be reduced. Plus, if it gets wet could spoil its contents.
The good news is that food packaging these days has advanced quite substantially, and nowadays we have a range of suitable biodegradable options available. What a business chooses to use should be decided by many factors. Things such as average delivery times, what contents are being delivered (hot-cold), how long the contents are going to be inside the packaging, as well as the type of transport used to deliver the food items, will help to make a decision when it comes to suitable food packaging choices.
Many businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of using compostable packaging, and rightly so since the choices made do impact the environment. It’s without question that biodegradable packaging are better for the earth, and it is beneficial for all restaurants to take an avid positive approach with regards to these changes. It would also be beneficial to the business financially- long-term- when a company is promoting and demonstrating positive changes.
Branding and design
Once suitable packaging choices are determined, it’s a good idea to focus on branding and design. Branding is generally the selling point of the company- aside from food quality of course- it interacts publicly with possible hundreds, so it’s an excellent opportunity to promote your brand clearly and precisely. Branding is what draws the eye of the consumer. It has to be appealing and serve its purpose effectively, to stand out in the crowds of competition. If you do opt for compostable ensure that it’s also clearly marked on the packaging, because it shows that you- as a company- are acting positively and appropriately.