Celebrating 50 years of Quality Food Packaging

Posts Tagged ‘compostable products’

Home Delivery Explosion Continues – Are you ready?

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The home delivery explosion isn’t ending any time soon. Are you ready? Every restaurant should be at least thinking about making this option accessible to their communities. On-demand food service delivery brings food directly from your restaurant to the customers, driven through mobile apps and online ordering.

Millennials are driving change in many different areas, food service included. As you might have guessed, Millennials are tech savvy, typically using up to two or three different devices each day. They are using said devices to connect with friends and companies, to research and review products, and to place food orders for delivery or take-out. They already love coming in to your restaurant, so why not connect to them when they don’t feel like eating out.

The restaurant industry is a roughly $490 billion market. Food delivery makes up 43% of that marketing and is continuing to grow. Engage with your loyal customers in and out of your restaurant. Millennials and Baby Boomers, alike, want great food at their finger tips.

RestaurantBusiness.com has a great article about how to get started with food delivery. There are lots of questions to ask before you get started in offering your food for delivery. Which service should I use, how will this change my business? Are we prepared to take on the increase in take-out orders? Do we have the right packaging for full meals to travel?

Genpak is here to help. Take a look at our home delivery video to get free samples, request a call, and learn more.


It’s been busy so far…

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To say we have been as busy as a beaver on the new product front for quality food packaging, would be the understatement of the year. By my count we launched 50 brand new sku’s just since January. That includes two completely new substrates (material used to make our products), three new product lines and one new category which is single-use cutlery. Yes, I’d say that qualifies as busy.

Here’s a recap of the lines and products we have launched so far…

Supermarket Containers – clear APET containers produced from 50% post consumer recycled content which are perfect for salsa and other dips, cut fresh and dried fruit, cut vegetables, gourmet candies, wet salads, olives along with other produce, just to name a few.

Harvest Fiber – which is a full line of compostable, food service products. What sets our line apart from the field is our quality, which has always been a trademark of Genpak. Our hinged food containers are easy to close and stay closed unlike the flimsy containers floating around from our competition, which when trying to close is something akin to threading a needle. It’s all in the design which is our patented, classic Genpak Snap-It closure system. All our Harvest Fiber food service packaging is grease and moisture resistant, 100% natural.

Harvest Starch – is our line of food service plates, bowls, hinged containers and cutlery produced from an environmentally enhanced, hybrid resin that reduces the amount of non-renewable sourced material by 60%! These products fit the bill for those food service operators who want a “greener” option, but still want the look and feel of high-end, traditional plastic products.

95516 – This is an over-cap lid for our single service size oven ready food trays. Initially, the two food trays this lid accommodates were designed for film seal applications. However, our customers wanted more flexibility with these trays.  Yes, we do listen to our customers (a trait most of our competitors lack) and react to those needs. The result was completely new markets for these products to service. Namely, catered school lunch programs, high end restaurant “doggie bags” and supermarket buffet line containers for foods going into the microwave. So for that, thank you.

Smart Set Pro expansion – we introduced a new two compartment rectangular microwave safe food container and a matching lid. The really cool feature of our microwave safe food containers is the unique “textured” finish of the base. The special way we manufacture these products allow us to reduce the part weight but up to 20% versus the heavy, clunky microwave products of our competition. In many circles that is considered a source reduction initiative worth talking about. Of course, with a lower part weight comes a lower price point which is nice too.

corn trayCorn Tray – Just in time for the summer sweet corn season, we have introduced our TR04 PC “corn tray”. This item is not only good for corn but be perfect for pre-made for shish kabob.

That certainly is a pretty busy first 6 months. Our goal is, and always has been to be the premier packaging supplier for food service industry. Quality product and quality service.

More bans?

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Well here we go again. More politicians have decided they are experts on food packaging. This time it’s New York state (Genpak’s home state by the way). State Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly member Brian Kavanagh have teamed with others in an attempt to ban the use of foamed polystyrene food service products in governmental offices and public schools.  They kicked off this witch hunt by holding a rally on Earth Day at a Manhattan school, standing next to a giant pile of polystyrene products. They have also begun recruiting elected officials to sign their SPARE (Stop Polystyrene And Revitalize the Environment) pledge. I guess this document forces governmental office buildings to find other, (more expensive) forms food service packaging. Ms. Kruger went on to say she was proud to be part of something that will ban products blah blah blah, toxic to the environment blah blah, etc etc. All the same rhetoric that is mostly all false or half true.

Here’s what I think. Election day is right around the corner and if you are an incumbent, you’re fighting for your political life. Especially in New York where once again we have no budget in place because of all the political bickering. Hey, let’s find an easy target we can pick on that will make us look like good guys in the voters eyes. Styrofoam!  Yes there we go, lets ban Styrofoam! 

Let’s face it, foamed polystyrene (Styrofoam is a trade name by another company) is an easy target due to huge consumer misconception…partially fueled by the misinformation piled on by folks like this. These politicians make up neat acronyms like SPARE and stand next to a giant piles of garbage talking about the ills of the material. Most of what they are saying are totally incorrect.

I’m not going to go into all the misinformation Krueger and Kavanagh are saying on this post, but if you are interested, I’ve posted before regarding all the misconceptions of foamed polystyrene. They don’t take long to read and it’s real information offered by someone not looking to be elected.

One thing that should be said here is if they are successful, taxpayers in NY should know that most of the alternative materials available are significantly more expensive than foam. Yes there are alternatives. I know because we sell a ton of it with our Harvest label products. It’s compostable and made from annually renewable resources. But, unfortunately, it is more expensive. Given the economic crisis the politicians have put New York State in, I would think they should be looking for any savings they can get. Spending 15% to 20% more for alternative food service packaging is probably not the wisest choice at the moment.

Listen, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. We are not against alternative materials for food packaging.  Far from it. Genpak is leading the charge for alternative materials. We have products made from annually renewable resources, products that have been significantly source reduced, products that are #1 recyclable, products that are produced with up to 50% post consumer recycled content and products produced from hybrid materials that replace a significant portion of the petrochemical resin with natural, annually renewable materials. What I’m against is politicians finding a business sector to regulate and control without knowing the facts, to make them appear grand in voters eyes.

I propose instead of SPARE they initiate DUMB (Don’t Usurp My NYS Budget) or perhaps STUPID (Stop Tying Up taxPayers Invaluable Dollars) and get to work on passing a budget for this great state. Let the food service markets and industries make their own natural progression toward the materials and substrates that make the most sense environmentally and economically.

Chicago City Council Proposes Cost Hike in Foodservice Ware

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The City Council of Chicago has proposed a new ordinance that would effectively require food service operators in the city of Chicago, to pay substantially more for their single use food service items, by imposing a ban on those items produced from expanded polystyrene (EPS), which carries the #6 chasing arrows identifier number.

The ordinance, written by Edward Burke, states that food dispensing establishments must use a biodegradable (sometimes referred to as compostable) alternative.  The following highlights are some excerpts from this ordinance.

*  “…polystyrene food service products and disposable food service ware have a significant adverse impact on the environment…” .  My question is, has a city council conducted an environmental impact study to back up this claim, or are they just empty words?  On January 27th, the second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles blocked a ban on plastic bags in  the community of Manhattan Beach because they never conducted an environmental impact report supporting their claims.  It’s easy to say something has a adverse impact on the environment.  It’s quite another thing to back up those claims with proven facts.  It is however a well documented EPA fact (2007 data) that single use food service ware items make up only 1.2% of all materials headed to municipal solid waste streams.  Also, once in a landfill, they do not produce methane which is an ozone depleting substance.

* “..in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the people…”.  There is no question that single use food service products made from EPS are a sanitary option for food packaging.  Two separate studies have proven that compared to other alternatives, single use EPS packaging provided a more sanitary choice as evident by significantly lower bacterial counts. (Source: FPI.org)

* “…toxic chemicals leach out of such products into food…”.  No they don’t. Don’t mistake the current BPA issue going on with products made from polycarbonate plastic. EPS and polycarbonate are two completely separate materials. Polycarbonate is a clear, fairly shatter resistant plastic used to make things like reusable water bottles and baby bottles. Polystyrene is a FDA approved material for food contact.

The ordinance goes on to state that fines will be imposed of up to $500 for each “offense”. As if being forced into paying more for their single use food service needs wasn’t enough.

Look, I’ve said this before, we are not against alternative materials that are compostable, recyclable and the like. Just the opposite in fact. Genpak was the one of the first manufacturers of food service products to offer a complete line of products from hinged containers to cups that were compostable, back almost four years ago.  We were the first to offer post consumer recycled content into our Hinged Deli containers, which by the way are now endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association. We led the movement to reduce part weights (source reduction) without reducing quality, for microwave safe packaging. And we recently just expanded our compostable line to include our brand new Harvest Fiber products.

It is safe to say that not only do we not oppose alternative materials, but that we are leading the charge. What we are opposed to is having a local municipality shove an ordinance that will be an economic burden, down the throats of the very institutions that make that community great. Those of you that have visited the city of Chicago know the choices for an excellent dinning experience is endless. We are opposed to bureaucrats picking an easy target to attack, such as EPS, without doing the homework to review its overall effect on the community. If successful, will this ban simply replace one type of litter for another more expensive kind? Are there sufficient composting facilities in the area that accept food grade waste? Will a diversion plan be put into play to send materials to a proper facility? Has a more attention been given to public trash receptacles? The list of questions goes on and on. Maybe all these concerns have been addressed. If so, I applaud the council. If not, then this ban should be stopped.

Product Spotlight – January

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It’s a brand new year and we’ve got a brand new product line to talk about. Before we get into that, let me lay a little ground work if I may. We had a national sales meeting up here in sunny Glens Falls a couple weeks back. After a few of our fair weather sales people stopped complaining about the snow, we got down to business and had a couple productive days. I think the main theme I took away was summed up by a phrase that will reign true throughout this year and years to come. That phrase was, “this is not your mother’s Genpak“. We were challenged to think outside our comfort zone and not to fall back on that comfy security blanket we call the foam hinged container. The gauntlet was laid to sell a greater mix of our ever growing product offering and push the envelope into the markets that will benefit the most from our superior designs and substrates. By the end of the meetings our entire group was pumped up and ready to dive into 2010 with both feet and with a bag full of new products…which leads me to our January spotlight. Harvest Fiber!

Harvest Fiber is our next generation of eco-conscious food packaging products. Before you ho hum yawn this one away as another Johnny-Come-Lately line of earth friendly products, remember who you are dealing with here! Genpak was first to market over three years ago with a full line of eco products. And, as a leader in the single use food packaging industry and one of the pioneers of “green” food packaging, we wanted to make sure these products could meet our motto of Quality To Go.

Now, what really sets our Fiber products apart from the field is our design. I’m not going to try to mislead you or gloss over facts here. Like everybody else who supplies products made from Bagasse, they are made in China. This mainly due to the lack of supply for that type of raw material here in the US. Please rest assured that we did not partner with the lowest bidder however. We visited, talked with and audited suppliers until we were 100% comfortable with our choice. One of the main reasons we went with who we did was we needed a company that would make products to our own design specifications. In other words we did not buy off the rack as everyone else has done. We took our time and had custom molds made to our spec so the products we did launch, looked and worked just like the Genpak products our customers are used to. If you’ve ever fumbled and cursed at that typical slot and tab type closure that is rampant in the fiber hinged market, you will absolutely love our hinged containers. Why? Because it is our Snap-It style design. Easy to close and stays closed.

Another feature on our Harvest Fiber hinged products that you’ll notice is the stacking rim. Yet another feature left off by our competition, but notHarvest Fiber Food Packaging over looked by us. Our thought here was, why skimp? This is what the food service market is used to so that’s what we are going to do. Other features include:

For you visual types, to see more pictures of our new Harvest Fiber food service products, just follow this link. If it is samples or more information you are after, just drop us a line and we’ll get right back to you.

Let us know what you think. Reply back (make it clean) and we’ll post your comments.