The Future of Food Packaging for Restaurants, Stores, and Delivery
The pandemic restrictions of this past year have highlighted some important aspects of food packaging. Four key elements that we believe are here to stay: sustainability, reusability, grab and go options, and tamper evident features.
Packaging waste is a problem, particularly for restaurants. Some restaurants began making efforts towards reusable or sustainably-sourced packaging pre-pandemic. However, the pandemic restrictions slowed these changes. Reusable options were considered initially unhygienic. Struggling businesses opted for cheap, single-use plastic and polystyrene foam containers rather than sustainable fiber based packaging.
While operators were willing to use whatever packaging they could afford, this shift, combined with the large decrease in recycling, has emphasized the packaging waste problem even more. This encourages a long term push for more sustainable food packaging, something environmentally conscious manufacturers and consumers are ready to move forward with.
Starbucks has implemented a reusable cup program. Other companies, such as McDonalds and Burger King, are partnering with Loop, to start reusable container programs. There are also other startup companies, like Dispatch Goods, that help facilitate reusable food packaging. Some universities have also started using reusable tableware, like SUNY New Paltz, University of Northern Iowa and University of Vermont. This trend could easily continue with success, and with pandemic safety concerns, vendors are sure to provide top level sanitation and safety.
Food to Go
As we have seen, the pandemic has caused a huge rise in purchasing food to go, whether that is from a restaurant or at a grocery store. Consumers are encouraged to spend less time inside restaurants and stores. Prepackaged options can help them make decisions faster. This means that designing packaging for grab and go situations is even more important. Covid-19 is still widespread and consumers are still looking for easy pick up options. This would be unlikely to change in the near future.
Creating tamper evident packaging became an even greater focus once the pandemic hit and food sanitation became a bigger concern. With food delivery not going away, protective packaging will be here to stay. The National Institute of Health also has research that shows that porous surfaces, like fiber-based packaging, are less hospitable to the virus than non-porous surfaces like plastic. This is also a bonus in the move towards more sustainable, fiber-based packaging.
At SCT, we believe that fiber-based packaging is an excellent, sustainable option for food packaging. Browse our catalog to see our products, including our Guarantab Tamper Evident Packaging.