The 5 golden rules of food packaging
The advent of the takeaway has led to another great revolution, that of food packaging. Better thought out, more resistant, lighter and ecological, food packaging is now essential. Here are 5 rules to make your packaging enhance your dishes!
Whether it’s a takeaway salad for lunch break, an order placed with a caterer for a dinner at home or a Deliveroo delivery to watch series without leaving your sofa… Food packaging is everywhere! Here are a few rules to make your packaging the best it can be!
1) Hygiene first
This seems obvious, but it is important to remind everyone that packaging’s first aim, hygiene related is.
The European legislation on food safety is very strict. Therefore, materials that come into contact with food must follow some criteria.
This regulation, applied since 2004, ensures that the packaging doesn’t transfer its constituents to the foodstuffs in proportions that could harm human health and lead to an unacceptable change in the composition of the foodstuffs or to a deterioration in their organoleptic characteristics.
There is also a list of authorized products, materials and substances as well as traceability measures to check the packaging’s sanitary aspect.
To ensure the food’s hygiene, it is imperative to use approved boxes, jars, pots, …
2) Respect for nature
Unfortunately, when we talk about takeaways, we often talk about single-use packaging.
But why? There are many reasons for opting for disposable packaging, such as hygiene, cost, speed, service economy, etc. This makes it easier for restaurateurs and other caterers to absorb the cost of packaging without increasing their meal prices. Obviously, choosing single-use utensils or packaging is bad for the environment.
Luckily, there are many alternatives to plastic that will make takeaway a little greener! Especially since January 1st, 2021, when the sale and usage of certain plastic products was banned. This was a progressive ban that gave restaurant owners until the 1st of July 2021 to sell off their stocks ordered before 2021.
Alternatives include bamboo cutlery, cardboard straws, edible boxes or containers made from sustainable and/or recycled materials.
The other option is to choose reusable packaging (glass or other). But this requires a deposit system to be set up where the container is charged for in addition to the dish, and will be refunded if the customer brings it back. This option is being much more ecological and also helps to raise awareness and build customer loyalty.
Never forget that packaging is the first thing customers see when receiving their order. This is why packaging must meet their expectations and also be immediately recognizable so the customer can immediately identify the chosen restaurant. This is mainly achieved by respecting a graphic charter from the ordering platform/ website to the packaging. You should therefore not hesitate to opt for personalization of your containers, boxes, cutlery and even the bags in which the food will be delivered. Colors, logos, baselines, stickers, textures, pictures… Everything must and can be branded!
In addition to the graphic charter, remind that packaging must correspond to the culinary style. Simply, if you are an Italian restaurant, don’t hesitate to personalize your pots and boxes with the “Dolce Vita” colors and to use this theme on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, International Pasta Day, etc…
4) Pleasing the customer
It may seem trivial or superficial, but personalizing your packaging is always a good idea. Just look at the success of Starbucks in its early days, when everyone posted selfies with their coffee and their misspelled name on it on social media. This little detail has become viral and is undoubtedly part of their success.
This is why the fun, creative and personalized aspect of packaging should never be overlooked. This allows the restaurant owner to be directly identified, distinguished from competitors, remembered and to build customer loyalty in the meantime.
In order to do this the right way, there is a whole range of little tricks to use, such as pretty stickers with the restaurant’s logo, themed stickers, a little candy in the bag, a little explanation explaining the origin of the dish, etc.
And in addition to the informative aspect, it is also advisable to have a little attention for the customers. So don’t hesitate to slip in a word like “Bon appétit!”, “Enjoy” or more personalized little winks depending on the dish: “Watch out for your clothes” for spaghetti, “Don’t forget to blow” for soup, etc…
Some establishments with a more artistic bent don’t hesitate to decorate their bags or containers with little drawings and private jokes based on the current series “To be enjoyed while watching Stranger Things” or other pop culture
5) Tips from THE pros
Optez pour des matériaux solides et qualitatifs : on oublie les barquettes en aluminium peu élégantes, les coques en polystyrène désastreuses pour l’environnement et on privilégie les contenants en matériaux recyclés et/ou biodégradables.
Opt for solid, high-quality materials: forget the unattractive aluminium trays and the environmentally disastrous polystyrene shells and opt for containers made of recycled and/or biodegradable materials.
Opt for containers adapted to your food and the size of your dishes. To avoid wasting packaging and excess material, always make sure you use the right size containers. In addition to size, pay attention to certain materials. For soups or sauces, for example, choose an insulating material that will keep the dish warm without leaking.
Don’t always add single-use cutlery, but offer it as an option, as a previous study has clearly shown that nine out of ten people use their own cutlery.
Systematically seal bags and pouches before returning the order to the deliveryboy, to avoid products disappearing, theft or spillage during transport.
Customized and sustainable packaging