While Coronavirus outbreak forced many businesses to close their doors, restaurants can escape the damage by running a delivery business or a cloud kitchen, either way, restaurants have to deliver food in the most appropriate packaging since the wrong packaging makes a meal less appetizing and hence customers will not deal with the same restaurant twice.
Accordingly, if you want your restaurant to keep gaining revenues you need to know how to package your food the right way. Here are all you need to know about food packaging.
Why food packaging is important?
1. Food Protection:
Food packaging is important to protect food during transportation, handling, and distribution and to preserve the condition of food as it is transported from restaurant to consumer. For instance, bag-in-box packaging applications are suitable for both food and beverages, whereas aluminum is appropriate for cans of soda.
2. Food Safety:
Food packaging protects the food from any contamination when delivering it to customers and ensures food safety to eliminate or reduce food recalls and hazards, especially while coronavirus is threatening people’s lives. A product recall is proven to be able to potentially destroy a brand’s credibility, cut product sales, or even result in a lawsuit. As Food contamination can occur at any point in the supply chain, make sure to always deliver safe and healthy meals.
3. Food Freshness:
Proper packaging can maintain food’s freshness, appearance, taste, shelf life, and quality, and make a meal more appealing. This allows customers to keep a meal at home for a period of time before consuming it.
Moreover, it is important to maintain the food’s temperature, so dishes meant to be eaten cold, for example, actually arrive cold. There is nothing worse than ordering ice cream, milkshake, or ice-coffee to have it arrive warm.
4. More Sales:
Attractive packaging encourages customers to repeat purchasing which increases sales.
5. Reinforce your brand and value:
The packaging is brand touchpoint and it is an essential part of the marketing and allows you to communicate item information directly with the customer. It also enables you to connect with customers through the smart use of color, design, and copy.
In addition, packaging communicates your values to the customers. For instance, if you value sustainability and the environment matters to you, consider using biodegradable packaging.
Key Factors to Choose the Right Packaging at Your Restaurant:
1. Choose the right packaging material at the best cost:
Choosing the right materials is the first step in selecting your packaging. You need to choose the material that allows for maximum product freshness and protection and fits with your brand aesthetic, environmental commitments and the type of food you are serving. Choose the food packaging material irrespective of its design.
Moreover, the choice of the packaging material depends on your business’s food delivery needs; the distance your food will travel, how long the food will remain in its packaging, as well as the temperature requirements.
After deciding what material to use, you can work with a packaging designer to customize a packaging that will best suit your needs.
Food package containers come in a variety of materials including plastic, cardboard, Styrofoam, corrugated boxes, boxboard, paperboard cartons, paper bags, biodegradable and sustainable alternatives.
Each has its own strengths and weaknesses as follows:
Styrofoam is excellent to insulate hot and cold foods to help maintain and control their temperature. Nevertheless, it is non-biodegradable which is bad for our environment.
Plastic is strong, prevents leakage, and protect food. It is perhaps the most commonly used packaging material because it is extremely cheap to make, easy to transport, and very durable.
However, plastics are not environmentally friendly as it is non-biodegradable, whereas some plastics can leach toxic materials into your food.
Cardboard is biodegradable, sustainable, easy to print on, cost-effective, and strong when folded correctly. Nevertheless, wet foods can turn it to mush and it is not a very good insulator to maintain temperature.
However, many restaurants offer pizza delivery packaged by corrugated cardboard boxes, which provide heat insulation and regulate temperature. To decrease the amount of released heat, the boxes can be firmly closed. Whereas, to prevent condensation and saves the pizza from getting soggy, the boxes have small holes on the side, allowing some air to escape.
d. Sustainable Packaging:
Sustainable packaging alternatives are far better for the environment, however, they are often more costly. An example might be compostable containers made from bagasse, which is a byproduct that remains after sugarcane processing. These containers can also go directly to the oven to warm meals.
2. Packaging Trends:
a. Sustainable Packaging
Not only do customers want to eat sustainable food and understand the food’s origin, but also they demand sustainable packaging. As consumers are becoming increasingly aware, it is important to look for food packaging materials that do not harm the environment.
Plastics and anything that cannot be recycled is no longer a choice for people who support the environment. Prioritize recyclable, reusable, biodegradable, eco-friendly, and even edible packaging that will add more value to your brand ethos.
b. Minimalist Packaging
Minimalist Packaging is a packaging that is free from unnecessary materials and cluttered designs with a simpler and more elegant design. It refers to reducing the mess from the packaging process. From the design and appearance to the packaging material, everything imparts a sense of simplicity with foods.
Minimalist Packaging is cost-effective and, often, environmentally friendly. It helps you better communicate your brand’s core message and increase awareness with customers as it has less clutter clouding the message. Consider including relevant information and graphics on your packaging and using only essential materials.
c. Personalized Packaging
Think of personalized packaging as what Coca-Cola does with its pre-named cans. As it matters in on-premise service, personalization also offers many benefits when applied in packaging. It helps you build stronger, more emotional connections with your customers and gives you free, word-of-mouth marketing as customers would feel special when they receive a personal note every time they ordered food.
For instance, you can leave a space on the container and then write a small note that reads “Made with love for [insert customer name], Stay Safe”
d. Convenient Packaging
Customers seek the convenience of eating food at home comfortably without having to cook or do dishes. So, consider offering a lightweight, easy to carry, and resealable packaging, where they can simply eat as much as they want and still able to close the container and eat later.
3. Create awareness with brand packaging:
The packaging is a key identity tool that physically represents your brand’s personality. It helps to draw the customers’ attention to your brand in a crowded retail space, and differentiate you from your competitors.
Packaging is an ideal marketing tool. As well as it is an extension of your brand, so, keep in mind your brand personality when hiring someone to design it, not to mention that you need to include your company name or logo on the packaging to keep your brand visible to anyone who sees it.
Overall, the material should align with your brand, the visuals and information on the packaging should properly communicate your image, and the packaging should speak to your customers.
Choose the packaging that ensures your food will be protected and safe through transportation as well as it looks and tastes as amazing as it should. While the design needs to communicate your brand personality and be visually appealing to your customers. This will help you enhance your brand’s image and drive more sales.