Genpak Blog - The Latest On Foodservice Packaging & More

Clear Plastic Food Packaging

August 28th, 2014

Recently the Wall Street Journal posted a story on how see through packaging boosted retail sales of food items.   While this article mainly talked about flexible packaging like chip, snack and power bar films, we have seen the same trend in solid, plastic food packaging as well.  The demand for our Clear Hinged Deli containers has never been stronger.  Customers & consumers alike love the crystal clarity these containers offer PLUS the added protection and shelf life a rigid hinged container offers.   Another added benefit of these containers is they way they may be merchandised.  Here’s a great example of our delis in action at Holly Land Bakery & Deli in FreshToGoDeliMinneapolis, MN.  They do a wonderful job of displaying the product inside and also offer a surface area for the nutritional label.  In this instance the containers are being used for all sorts of confectionery delights. Our clear food packaging is not just for the bakery section though.  They are also used to package dried fruit, nuts, cheese, deli meats, candy as well as cut fruit and cut vegetables as seen here.  The broccoli and cauliflower really pop in a clear hinged container, don’t you think?

Another example of clear packaging making huge gains for real estate space on retail shelves is the explosion of hummus.  Walk down any grocery store in American today and you will find a very large section set aside for hummus.  Nearly all of the packaging used is a clear, round two piece container, we refer to as our Supermarket Containers.  Produced from the same material as our clear hinge deli, these containers are all #1 curb side recyclable and are also produced with 30% post consumer recycled content.  So not only do they perform wonderfully
on the retail shelf displaying and protecting the food products within, they also have a very nice environmental message to tell as well.  It’s a win win no matter how you slice it!  Here we see that familiar red lid of the Sabra Hummus packaging.  Delicious hummus in a very nice package that allows consumers a view of their favorite garnish option.  I’m a roasted red pepper guy.  What’s your favorite?

 

Food Operators Fight Back

June 26th, 2014

Cheers to Harris Sukita owner of Simply Ono lunch wagon and Jennifer Hino who sells specialty desserts in Hawaii, for standing up to big brother government out there.  It seems that City Councilman Stanley Chang is trying to strong arm them into using one type of food packaging over another.  Mr. Ono and Ms Hino both call out valid reasons why this “law” would hurt their businesses by means of lost profit and poor product presentation.  Mr. Ono stated it best when he said, “When government starts telling me that I have to start giving up some of my profit to put into somebody else’s pocket, that’s when it becomes an issue”.  Well said sir!

This is yet another prime example of a grossly misinformed politician who is trying to score cheap points by targeting small business owners.  Councilman Chang points out that foam food packaging will not breakdown in our lifetime.  Perhaps Mr. Chang should do his homework on modern day landfills.  They are designed so nothing breaks down…not even organic materials.  Also, as the opponents to this bully in the hallway bill point out, most foam food packaging is turned into electricity at HPOWER along with other refuse.  Mr. Chang also claims that foam food packaging contains an substance that may cause cancer.  This again is a typical scare tactic used to frighted and intimidate people.  Foam food packaging has been used safely, with zero incidence of cancer for over 40 years.   What more proof does he want?  It’s like saying I won’t drink water because it contains two hydrogen molecules and I’m worried I will explode if I drink it.  It’s absurd as is his bill.

Again, I’m not against compostable food packaging.  Far from it.  At Genpak we sell our Harvest Fiber & Harvest Paper products by the truckload.  What I’m against is the government telling us what we can and can’t use to serve food in.  This should be decided by the food operators and their customers.  If the desire is to move from one type to another, fantastic.  I’m on board.  But when big government moves in like Mr. Chang is doing, and starts strong arming its citizens, that’s when it becomes a problem.  Keep up the fight Mr. Sukita and Ms. Hino!

 

New Food Packaging from Genpak

June 23rd, 2014

The commissioner of the US Patent office, who in 1899 famously (or infamously) utter the comment that “everything that can be invented has been invented” never met our design team!  Introducing our newest hinged take out container…the 203CO, close-off, large hinged container.  What’s really cool about this container is that it can save you money!  If you are a foodservice operator and regularly use those solid plastic portion cups for your sides, like Coleslaw and baked beans or for condiments like salsa, you will absolutely love this new package.  The reason is… you no longer need those containers.  Think of the potential savings to be had!

Let’s say for example you use 500 cases of our large hinged 20010 per year for your take-out program.  In those containers you also regularly include two plastic side cups and lids.  Those cups & lids probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 cents per set (1 cup, 1 lid).  Some may pay a little more and others a little less, but that’s a good ballpark.  So you’ve got an extra 6 cents in packaging going out with your large hinged container for a total yearly spend of around $10,000 just in those side cups.  Here’s the part you will love.  Forget the side cups.  You simply do not need them with this package!  The 203CO is a compartmentalized container where the lid seals off the compartments of the base.  And NO, IT WILL NOT LEAK!  Check this video out as proof that the package does what we claim it will…

How cool is that?  Note that none of the side items migrated into any of the other compartments.  Now, this container is a bit more expensive than our standard 20010, but I can guarantee it’s not $20.00 more (that 10 cents x 200 pieces per case)!  You will save money, your customers will love the fact they don’t have more to throw away and, your side items will stay at their desired temperature longer.  It’s a win, win, win.  Listen, don’t take my word for it, order up a few free samples and test it for yourself.  My guess is this will become your new take-out container of choice.

 

Food Packaging Decisions

June 16th, 2014

I can’t tell you how many times I get calls from food service operators, confectioners and food processors looking for custom food packaging to fit their new creation or menu option. Now that by itself sounds great, and it is. The problem arises when the packaging to transport these culinary works of art are at the bottom of their to do list when it should really be the second item on the list.

The reason for this is the cost to make custom shapes and sizes can be a significant dollar amount. Without getting too technical, I can tell you it can get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A capital outlay of this magnitude is often something people just weren’t thinking about. Especially when they were probably thinking the packaging would be around 2%, maybe 3% of their overall cost. Now a whole new set of costs need to be justified for the operators. Often times on a brand new menu or food item, the “for sure” sales volume is not there to support such an expense. Sure we do get those calls from the larger, national food processors or foodservice operators who can handle this sort of thing with the power of their particular brand to support custom food packaging, but for the small and mid-sized companies, an extra $100,000 would kill the whole deal. They’d now be faced with going out and finding a smaller, custom forming company who might be able to make what they need without the large tooling costs, but their final part price will be 30% or more than what they were hoping which is no bargain either.

There is hope! Just move the packaging part of your new food product equation up to the number two spot.  A early on call to your friendly food packaging specialist could save thousands later down the road. We can work with you to design a packaging solution utilizing our massive inventory of existing footprints. 90% of the time we already have a design that will work perfectly. But for that other 10%, sometimes just a minor tweak to the food item or perhaps a simple count change (6 muffins instead of 9) is all it takes to design that perfect package. Perfect both economically and functionally. However if that packaging call is the last on the list and all other aspects are set in stone, it can sometimes be an up hill climb to find an economical solution.

So for all you food processors and foodservice operators out there who like to create new tasty items for us to eat, do me and you both a favor and bump your food packaging decision a few notches up the to do list.  I guarantee you’ll be glad you did!

 

Compostable Food Packaging from Genpak

April 29th, 2014

The need for “greener” food packaging is increasing and will continue to increase according to many reports published recently, by market research firms.  Whether it’s called biodegradable packaging or compostable packaging, the reports indicate a growth rate of 18% annually over the next 5 years, with the fastest growth opportunity in the food and beverage sectors.  Many factors are sited for this growth, but the two most prominent reasons are consumer awareness, which is great, along with governmental legislation, which is not so great.  If you are a regular reader here, you’ll understand I’m not in favor of local governments deciding which packaging can and can’t be used.  I won’t get into that rant here, but if you are interested you can always sift through previous posts on that subject.

For now though, I think it would be a good idea to review the options we have available for compostable food packaging starting with our Harvest Fiber products whose features include:Harvest Fiber Biodegradable Packaging

  • 100% compostable – BPI certified.  Only accept 3rd party verification for compostability claims!
  • 100% all natural material
  • Microwave safe
  • Non-absorbent
  • Genpak engineered designs including Snap-It closures and stacking features on hinged containers

I think that last bullet point is what really separates Genpak from the rest of the field.  Our customers have come to expect a higher level of quality in both material and design.  It did not seem right to introduce compostable packaging that did not have the same great features as our traditional packaging.  That why, when you utilize our Harvest Fiber hinged containers, you’ll enjoy the same great features such as our Snap It closures and stacking rims.  Our finished product is also superior in strength and moisture resistance which is important.  Consumers do not want to eat out of a package that feels like a wet sponge which is what you can get with inferior products.

Our Harvest Fiber offering is 9 items deep on hinged containers (and growing – stay tuned) from the HF225 medium sandwich container to our popular HF203 large hinged dinner container.  The plates, bowls and platters make up 12 items within the line.  Now, if you really want to set yourself apart, be sure to use our square Harvest Fiber dinnerware offerings.  They include the HFSQ20 – 20 oz bowl, HFSQ10 – 10″ plate and HFSQ11 – 11″ platter.   Each of these great items has a clear, over-cap lid available which, while not compostable, are made of 30% post consumer recycled material and are also curb side recyclable!  Lastly, rounding out the line is our HF105, 5 compartment school tray.

As you can see, we have all our most popular configurations available for our customers to choose from.  We’ve also taken the time to do it right with 3rd party certifications and our own Genpak designs.  But we did not stop there.  We recently expanded our compostable offering to include our entire line of paper cone, portion and pleated water cups which we call Harvest Paper.  As with our Harvest Fiber items, these paper products are also 100%, 3rd party certified compostable.  We have 6 cone cup configurations to choose from, 12 portion cups and 4 pleated cold drink cups.

Since Genpak was the first to offer a full line of compostable products back six years ago, we thought it important to have the fullest and highest quality line available for our customers.  If you are new to Genpak products or compostable packaging in general, we suggest you try it before you buy it.  I urge you to order up a FREE sample kit of our Harvest products and test them for yourself.  Our hope is that you will join our family of satisfied customers and allow us to become Your Food Packaging Company! 

 

10500 School Lunch Tray Wins the Genpak National Food Packaging Championships

April 4th, 2014

And the winner is…the 10500 School Tray!  It wasn’t even really close.  The 10500 has dominated sales since the start of this tournament.  I suppose you could argue that if this contest occurred during the summer months when most schools are in recess, the outcome would have been different.  But the fact is, the 10500 has beat them all.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following the food packaging championships as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you.

Be sure to check out our 10500 along with all the great food packaging options Genpak has to offer.

 

Genpak-Food-Packaging-National-Championship

School Trays vs. Three Compartment Take Out Container

April 3rd, 2014

I’m sure you were all waiting with baited breath on the results of the elite eight and final four.  Here you go.  The 10500 School Tray just keeps rolling along as did the SN203 Large, Three Compartment Take-Out Container.  Both have made it to the finals.  Having seen all the scores in each match up, I don’t know if the SN203 is going to be able to handle the surging 10500.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for the results of the championship game!

Genpak food packaging championships

Genpak food packaging championships

 

Genpak Food Packaging National Championships

March 28th, 2014

Round three is in the books and it was tough day to be a Meat Tray.   The category entered the sweet sixteen with 5 players and exited with only the 1002 still standing.  Being a number one seed, the 1002 should still be in it, but the others all lost including the 1004D in an upset defeat to the Hinged Take-Out stalwart 20010 large dinner container.  The only other upset was the AD24 Hinged Deli Container  bumping off the the #2 seeded 22500 Large Hinged Sandwich Container.

I can see this coming down to a head to head competition with the School Tray against the Large Hinged Take-Out Container.  We’ll see what happens in the next round on April 2nd.  Be sure to check back for those results.

Food Packaging Championships

Genpak Food Packaging National Championships

March 21st, 2014

By now I’m sure you are all glued to the RSS feeds of our blog, just waiting for round two results.  Wait no further for here they are.  Round two saw four upsets starting off with the number 6 seed 10600 School Tray bumping off the 3rd seeded SN243 Hinged Take-Out Container.  Another 6th seed besting a 3rd seed was the AD24 Hinged Deli Container over the LAM09 Laminated Dinner Plate in a very close contest.  Meanwhile the AD08 Hinged Deli took care of the W1002 West Coast Meat Tray while the 1016S Standard Meat Tray beat the 83900 Three Compartment Dinner Plate to round out the upsets.

The match up that interested me most was the battle of the Large Hinged Sandwich Containers commonly referred to as the Hamburger Box.  It was the Snap-It design SN225 taking on the Traditional Design 22500.  It was close, but the experience and longevity of the 22500 was too much for the newer SN225.  I am sure before this tournament is over we’ll see some more design match ups go head to head.  Be sure to check in next Friday for round three results and good luck.

Round 3 results

Round 3 results

Genpak Food Packaging National Championships

March 20th, 2014

Round one is complete and for the most part, you were safe if you picked the favorites.  Only two upsets to report.  The 1017S Standard Food Tray edged out the AD12 Hinged Deli Container in a close contest.  Also, the TR04P Processor Grade Food Tray beat the 1004S Standard Food Tray.  I guess it was a good day to be a Food Tray.  There was one other close contest with the 20310 Hinged Take-Out Container and 21900 Large Hinged Hoagie Container, but in the end the 20310 had just a few more cases for the victory.

Check back tomorrow for round two results.  I’m sure we’ll see some more upsets along the way…

First Round Results

First Round Results