instore - May 2018 - 12
Prepared foods packaging
In a recent prime-time TV ad, an Uber Eats driver delivers McDonald's
to a millennial sitting on his couch. In another corner of the QSR world,
Pizza Hut recently announced the development of a pouch that keeps
delivery pies 15 degrees warmer than traditional pizza pouches.
Food delivery is more popular than ever (and evolving in unexpected
ways), and retail foodservice is riding the wave. As grocery and c-store
prepared foods become more popular and consumers do more of
their shopping online, the demand for packaging that can deliver hot
foods to consumers and keep them hot, crisp and presentable will
Delivery is such a topic in the food world, Lynn Dyer, president of the
Foodservice Packaging Institute, recently gave a speech at a conference devoted to it. "In general, the whole concept of delivering food to
consumers is just going like gangbusters," she says. "There's a huge opportunity for foodservice outlets, and for our members -the companies that
supply their packaging. People realize it's a way to increase sales."
The notion of what "convenience" is continues to evolve, Dyer says. For
many people, going to a brick-and-mortar to pick up a grab 'n go salad or
a meal from the hot food bar no longer cuts it. "Consumers are so timecrunched, and they're getting used to having things delivered to them."
Expectations about what
packaging needs to do are also
changing. "It used to be, the
package only needed to keep
the food hot for two minutes
before you ate it," Dyer says.
"Now it's 30, 45 minutes. An
hour. It's crazy. And it puts extra
requirements on packaging
The higher expectations placed on foodservice packaging and the companies that
make it extend beyond the need to keep foods warm, Dyer says. "It has
to not only be hot but also presentable," she says. "The consumer wants
to have that same restaurant experience at home. They don't want a
hot jumbled mess of everything. The packaging experience can really
help or hurt sales. If a customer's meal is cold and soggy when they get
home, they're not going to buy it again."
Some foodservice purveyors, she says, are so worried about that
happening, they're toying with the idea of creating delivery-only
menus, so that foods that "don't travel well," as Dyer says, don't lead to
negative consumer experiences. Many
shy away from delivering fried foods for
that reason, she says.
Genpak LLC's hot to-go
packaging is leak-resistant, and compartments
keep foods separate.
12 * MAY 2018 * instore
ANCHOR PACKAGING, GENPAK LLC
In recent years, there haven't been
any new earth-shaking technologies
for keeping food warm in foodservice
packaging, Dyer says. Instead, packaging
companies are doing simple things like
adding vents to packages, which allows
steam to escape and thus helps crispy
foods stay crispy. Others have refined
and expanded microwave-safe to-go
packaging. Other improvements include
making to-go packaging tamper-evident,
so product can't be opened mid-delivery.
Some companies are adding anti-fogging
materials to packaging so consumers
can see the hot foods they're taking
home or having delivered.