Don’t let your food packaging ruin a good meal. Five top tips for small business owners
In the twelve weeks since the Australian Government-ordered COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions were put in place, many foodservice businesses have completely transformed their business model. Customers are now able to enjoy their favourites in a takeaway format and the boom in food delivery is continuing to increase It has never been more critical for foodservice businesses to consider the right packaging with hygienic low-touch food grade solutions to protect food ready for consumption.
One of Australia’s food packaging experts, Marinucci, is a leader in food packaging innovation and understands how important packaging is for a foodservice business.
“In the last few months, we have seen the foodservice industry pivot into a takeaway sector. Small business owners, chefs and café owners need to think about packaging and how it can assist their business and become part of their offering. It’s not just about protecting the freshness, temperature of the food and minimising food waste. It is also about providing packaging that is fit for purpose and can easily be recycled,” says David Marinucci, CEO, Marinucci.
Here, David Marinucci outlines the key considerations for foodservice business owners when it comes to packaging:
- Packaging performance from kitchen to consumption – firstly you need to think through how best to present takeaway food to your customers and if they need to complete any tasks before consuming it. For example, you might need to combine items together; some soups where you put the noodles, protein and vegetables and smaller condiments like chilli, in separate containers for transport, then will need a larger container once combined – this will help with the size and types of packaging pieces you need.
Then look at what types of packaging each component needs which will help with identifying what type of packaging material you can choose. For example, if you need to reheat in a microwave or oven then you need to choose packaging that is microwave friendly. If there is a lot of liquid like in a soup or curry, then you
- Hygiene and safety – Delivery of food via third parties continues to grow. To enhance safety to your customers consider using tamper evident packaging or applying labels so your customers feel assured that their orders are delivered tamper-free. There are many options available to consider that have built-in tamper evident tabs like what you see in grocery stores with a breakaway tab or lid that pops when the initial seal is broken.
- Easy-to-use and store – You always want to choose packaging that you can easily store in your shop and doesn’t take your team too long to construct. Some packaging choices like pizza boxes and salad containers come flat packed and need to be assembled before use. Others like recyclable plastic containers need no assembly but require you to purchase separate bases and lids and store both items.
- Takeaway packaging reflects your brand and image – Overall the packaging you choose and how your food looks when it is being consumed reflect a lot on the type of venue and food offering you have. If you have a fine dining restaurant you wouldn’t be using plastic containers that are flimsy and can easily crack.
You may also want to think about choosing more environmentally friendly packaging. There are lots of choices available that can be classified in two areas:
i) Part of the circular economy which means packaging that can easily be recycled in Australia or is made from materials that have already been recycled one or more times. Products made using PET, PP and aluminium foil can all be easily recycled across Australia via curb-side collection. Materials made using bioplastics including PLA are very dependent on local recycling centres and what they can accept. Check with your council to see if your customers will be able to recycle these materials easily.
ii) Compostable packaging which is packaging that is certified to compost either with general backyard waste or in a commercial facility. Cardboard and bagasse are the most common products here. They look and feel great and suit a lot of takeaway food products with being able to be placed in microwaves and ovens for short time periods, and can handle both hot and cold food along with a moderate grease content. However, they are not recommended for liquid based products such as soups and curries as they generally have no lining and absorb moisture which weakens their structure.
- Quantity and price – Ordering your packaging on a weekly basis can assist with both cash flow and lack of storage concerns. For many small foodservice businesses cashflow is a major consideration, so by placing your packaging order on a weekly basis, you will have better control over your cash flow, and at the same time storage issues will be minimised.
“We understand that the right packaging solution can be critical to the future of a foodservice business, so we are working with small business owners to assist them in remaining viable and to thrive. By ordering online with us we are offering no minimum order value, $10 delivery charge in metropolitan areas and same day dispatch on orders received by 3pm. Our job will be to continue to innovate and offer solutions to protect the freshness of the food, whilst supporting the businesses, and, making it a wonderful experience for consumers,” concludes Marinucci.
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