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Food Packaging Has Changed At NRA 2018

May 24th, 2018 RSS feed icon

hinged food containers filled with food

One of the largest restaurant shows was over the weekend in Chicago. National Restaurant Association Show (NRA) brings together everything you could possibly need for a restaurant, commercial kitchen, and startup. Walking the show you’re sure to get 10,000 steps in for the day, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

During our walk of the nearly 2,500 vendors you could see the clear growth into technology. There’s an entire section now devoted to making restaurants more efficient. From foodservice orders of food packaging and disposables, to front of house ordering systems, there’s a digital solution for everything.

The food packaging sphere at the show has changed a bit. The industry has been transitioning away from polystyrene containers to more recyclable options with a better life cycle story. At Genpak we are working on broadening our microwave safe, reusable containers, as well as our compostable product offerings. With focus on better treatment of the environment all plastics manufacturers are looking to streamline processes to protect Mother Earth. Bamboo and molded fiber had a major presence at the show. Check out our Harvest Fiber containers to learn more about our compostable and biodegradable products. Our Green Room has great information highlighting our processes as well as end of life plans for the containers used in restaurants.

APET or OPS? The Difference is CLEAR.

December 5th, 2017 RSS feed icon

APET vs. OPS

The Hard, Brittle Truth Behind OPS

Transparent food packaging is becoming a driving force in a faster purchasing decisions. So, when it comes to OPS and APET, the difference is clear. OPS is an oriented polystyrene that can be formed into plastic. This substrate is a cheaper option, but this low-priced material can only go so far. APET is anamorphous polyethylene terephthalate, and is uncompromising, safe, sustainable, and worth the investment. Here are the unparalleled qualities in APET that makes OPS “crack” under pressure.

1 | Unmatched Clarity

There’s nothing more important in food service than authentic food presentation. It benefits both the operator who displays the food item and the consumer who makes the purchasing decision. While OPS is usually made for bakery food items, APET material offers a heightened transparency.

Even with lids, APET is unmatched with superior clarity. You don’t have to confirm that you have Coke or tea, and water or Sprite. Since OPS lids produce haziness, you sometimes can’t help but lift the lid to guarantee that you have the right refreshment. APET on the other hand, is much more transparent where consumers can ensure that they have the right beverage without having to peep through a blurry lid.

2 | Longer Shelf Life

Every food item has an expiration date, and APET is a great candidate for offering a longer shelf life. Its structural integrity serves as a defense against oxygen to prolong the lifespan of a food item. This substrate also works well under cooler temperatures up to -20◦F, safe for a refrigerator or freezer. From transporting the container from one location to the next, consumers can ensure that it’s effective in preserving a food item without caving in or cracking open.

OPS is limited in versatility when it comes to preserving food items at room temperature or in a cooler setting. It’s very brittle and is more likely to shatter. Oxygen can easily seep into a container made from this substrate and cause food spoilage.

3 | Strong and Safe

APET is durable, cut resistant, and uncompromising when handled. OPS tends to be rough around the edges, making it difficult to get along with. As a company that thrives off safety, we recognize that OPS is a risky investment because it is a firm plastic that’s prone to cracking. Brittle substrates like this can challenge your safety, causing scratches and cuts. It leaves behind sharp edges when cracked, which is why it is not a recommended substrate for drinking cups.

4 | #1 Curbside Recyclable

APET is a versatile substrate that is widely accepted by most municipalities curb side recycling programs. Most recycling firms do not accept OPS because it is more difficult to break down and reconstruct. Genpak’s transparent containers are constructed with APET and up to 30% post-consumer recycled content, in our conservational efforts to eliminate waste, and reduce the burden on the environment.

At Genpak, we’re passionate about engineering products that perfectly blend with immediate packaging needs. These options can be found in our Hinged Deli Containers, Hinged Bakery Containers, Supermarket Containers, Hinged Food Containers, and Cold Drink Cups. We ensure a forerunning spot in markets where APET products are needed.

clear deli containers - APET

Home Delivery Explosion Continues – Are you ready?

March 15th, 2017 RSS feed icon

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.

 

NRA 2013

May 10th, 2013 RSS feed icon

2013 National Restaurant Association Show

Did you know we will be at the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago? You should stop by our booth (#1626) to chat with us about our new Harvest Pro line.

More and more restaurants are moving to a more environmentally friendly option. Our Harvest Pro line combines quality and responsibility to bring you a recyclable, non-absorbent, cut resistant, microwavable clamshell. Produced with 40% natural minerals Harvest Pro offers a great way to reduce your environmental impact, but not reduce the quality. Harvest Pro is also leak resistant because of the double lock closures with tab opening. These containers also come in a vented option for hot foods. These options are everything you could ever want in a hinged container.

Harvest Pro comes in a range of sizes, from the most popular size, 9″ x 7″, general purpose container for burgers and fries or chicken wings, to the 6″ x 6″ sandwich container. If portion control is an issue Harvest Pro offers two three-compartment containers. Having different size options helps with portion control but also keeps your look consistent.

Harvest Pro black hinged containers

Harvest Pro is:

  • Non-absorbent – your food isn’t soaked into the container. You don’t lose any flavor in your meal.
  • Cut resistant – you don’t end up cutting your table, losing dressing or sauce due to slices in the packaging.
  • Microwave safe – heat up your leftovers without burning your hands, melting the container, or blowing up the microwave.
  • Recyclable – when you are through, toss it in with the rest of your recyclables.

Did you say you wanted something with a design on it? Well Harvest Pro can do that too. We have embossing options available to suit your needs.

Remember Genpak’s Harvest Pro next time you are thinking about being “Responsible, Renewable & Reliable.”

Stop by our booth for a chance to win a Summer Survival Kit containing cutlery, cups, plates, and bowls; everything you need for a party! See you soon.

Food Packaging – Yeah We Really Need It

March 5th, 2013 RSS feed icon

Superbags and packagingIt seems like every time I turn around there’s yet another municipality or some internet “guru” throwing stones and food packaging. It’s the same old tired blah blah droning going on. “There’s too much of it, it’s toxic, it gave me acne”…the list gets more ridiculous and far fetched with each new post. The problem is, there are not enough people or organizations firing back about the actual TRUTHS and virtues of food packaging. The real experts about food packaging are those companies who actually produce it, and the companies who directly use it, such as food processors and restaurants. Therefore is seems to make sense that we should be the source to talk about why food packaging is in fact, necessary. Here’s a list I came up with, in no particular order of importance.

  • It protects our food from damage. Think of your favorite brand of cookies. Now try to picture buying those cookies from a bulk bin like you might buy nuts or granola. Not a very pretty image is it, that is unless you like crumbs. That’s just one example. Without food packaging, I’d wager 90% of what you buy at the supermarket would not be possible.
  • It prevents food from spoiling. Again, using the supermarket as an example, think of those wonderful bags or clear containers of cut lettuce. By placing those delicate produce items in packaging that protects it from the outside environment, the shelf life is extended both at the supermarket and when you get the products home. This allows you to consume all the food before it goes bad.
  • It educates consumers on what’s actually inside. Allergic to gluten, nuts or wheat? Your food packaging allows for great graphics that will tell you all the pertinent nutritional values needed to make informed decisions before purchasing. Caloric count, ingredients, allergens…you name it and the packaging can advise it.
  • Keeps foods at temperature longer for an enjoyable experience. This also goes back to the spoilage issue. You are more apt to throw food away if it is not at the desired temperature, be it hot or cold.
  • It simply fits our lifestyle. Statistics show more and more of us order take-out meals, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Why, because we are busy. More demands on us to do more and be more productive chews up time. It would be very difficult to have a take-out meal without take-out packaging.

My challenge is for you to think of all the positive ways food packaging fits into your life. Then try to picture a day without it.

NYC Mayor to increase your food bill

February 14th, 2013 RSS feed icon

cruiser plastic drink cupsI tried to stay away from posting on all the bans our elected officials like to impose upon us, but I can’t ignore this one since it’s happening in Genpak’s home state. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, has decided that not only should he ban large soda’s from you, but he’s now going to impose a ban on the vehicle in which you get your drinks. Not only cups, but your hinged containers, soup cups and anything else produced from foamed polystyrene will be banned if he gets his way.

I’m not sure what it is with politicians, that they like to impose their will upon us? Were they picked on as little kids, stood up on their first date or just need to fuel their massive egocentric appetite to reign supreme? I don’t know. But what I do know is, if he is successful and this thing passes, the results will be:

  • Your bill for whatever you just ordered will go up in price as “green” alternative packaging does not have the same economies of scale as traditional plastics.
  • NYC will trade one type of litter for another. Studies done at municipalities that have banned certain types of plastic in an attempt to reduce litter have found all that has happened is the type of litter has changed from one type of material to another. I’ve no studies to prove this, but knowing a package is “environmentally friendly”, wouldn’t they be even more apt to chuck the hamburger container out the window of their car?
  • The higher cost of alternatives will likely force some food operations to reduce their staff (layoffs) or simply close up shop.
  • The alternative packaging will still go into a landfill where it will stay for years and years.
  • Your taxes will go up. Why? If public schools are forced to move away from their current school tray programs, they’ll be forced to either pay for more expensive trays or buy expensive and costly to run/maintain industrial dishwashers that require a ton of water and chemicals.  Who’s going to flip that bill? Taxpayers are.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say these bans do not work. It is a FAR better solution to let the marketplace decide where this goes simply by the actions of the consumer. Not a politician. If consumers decide they want to eat out of a container that is say, compostable, then so be it. Consumers have never been shy in telling their merchants what they want. After all, it’s their hard earned money that’s being spent and merchants in turn will find a way to get it done. The point is, the marketplace is dictating the terms…not a… well you know.

Please don’t get me wrong here. We fully support the wishes of the marketplace and long ago have offered 100% natural, fully compostable food packaging. In fact, we have many alternative materials that we offer to our customer base that are either compostable, or source reduced. We would just rather let the marketplace decide on the type of packaging used and not a politician.

Food & Food Packaging in the News

January 9th, 2013 RSS feed icon

Happy new year my friends! A new year brings new opportunities and trends to track. Here’s a list of interesting food trends for 2013 to check out. I don’t know about you, but brined Moroccan lemons won’t make my table this year.

Distributor relationships can help restaurants thrive. I’d take this article one step further and advise food operators to also forge relationships with the manufacturers themselves. As a manufacturer of food packaging, I can tell you we can bring expertise to our particular area of your business. Excellent distribution relationships are important to be sure, but don’t pass up the opportunity to pick the brains of your actual manufacturer as well. Have a question about food packaging, just let us know.

Now here are some beef trends that I could really sink my teeth into. The slow cooked meats have to be my favorite.

Students will be offered the opportunity to tag along with Supermarket industry veterans at the upcoming NGA show. What a great way to keep momentum alive within an industry.

Here’s an interesting opinion on how to up-sell quick service restaurants.

RFID or radio frequency identification is now being successfully used at restaurants to streamline service operations. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of high tech gadgetry making it’s way into food service and even food packaging industries.

Food Packaging & Food Industry News

October 18th, 2012 RSS feed icon

Packaging can make or break a meal. I could not have said it better.

Sustainable trends in food packaging. It seems packaging is constantly in the cross hairs, but there is no doubt the packaging industry is making great strides in reducing the amounts of materials used while still producing a functional part. The bullet points midway through this article really tells a compelling tale.

QR Codes are popping up everywhere. I don’t know about you, but I really like these little things. They make it very easy to inform customers about topics regarding a product.

Food Packaging And Container Needs For Fine Dining Restaurant

September 30th, 2012 RSS feed icon

[This is a continuation of our “Starting A Food Business” Series]

Thinking about starting a fine dining restaurant? Or maybe you just opened the doors on your new establishment? Whatever stage your business plan is in, you may have a mindset that paper, plastic and foam food containers are not part of your future. If this is the case, take a few moments to realize that it may be time to revisit your restaurant plan.

Paper. Plastic. Foam. These are not words normally associated with a fine dining Read the rest of this entry »

Food Packaging And Container Needs For Food Delivery Businesses

August 20th, 2012 RSS feed icon

[This is a continuation of our “Starting A Food Business” Series]

Is it time to start thinking about adding food delivery as an option to your customers? Or are you just starting your food business, and want to use delivery as the primary way to get food into your customers’ hands? Whichever case, being prepared for the challenges will make it a great deal easier and make your customers much more satisfied.

And one of the most pressing challenges is how to keep the food your customers will eat, tasting (and looking) just as good as if they ate it as soon as you plated it. Now, time from packaging your food to getting to your customer’s door is an important factor, but that’s not our expertise. A critical factor we’re prepared to help you with is the packaging and containers you should consider when looking to start delivery, or to improve your current delivery operations.

Why is this such an important element? Because poor food packaging can lead to spills, messy looking meals, food that needs to be reheated, cold food that is too warm or countless other mishaps that could yield a poor customer experience. That is something all businesses want to avoid. So here are some of the top things to consider when setting your food container and packaging plan for your delivery operations.

  • Think of your image. If you serve family style or catering sized meals, you must think of the image you want to portray for your business. If you are a more upscale type brand, high quality plastic plates will go over a lot better than regular paper plates, which would work well for a local barbecue business.  Remember who your competition is, as well as what your customers expect from you. And then go out and exceed all expectations.
  • Microwave Safe Containers can be useful. Does your food need to be finished off once it arrives at your customer’s house? Is it likely that the portion will be eaten over a few days? If this is the case, a microwave safe container is a great option to have on hand. Most of these containers have a stylish look, and show the customer that you really do have their interest in mind.
  • Hinged Containers make it easy. For individual meals, a hinged container can be a life saver for a delivery business. You don’t have to find a matching lid each and every time you pull a meal together. Just grab one of the hinged containers and start plating. And many hinged containers also have compartmented styles, so you can keep each item of the meal separate.
  • Ensure your customers remember you. Branding delivery bags or pre packaged foods can go along way in keeping in the forefront of your customers minds. Flexible packaging and branded solutions ensure that your name (and hopefully contact information) stays with your customer longer than just when they answer the door and pay the delivery person.
  • Give your cups lids. A piece of foil just won’t do. If you are giving your customers the option to order individually sized drinks, make sure that you have a large supply of quality cups with matching secure lids.

When you are delivering food to customers, be sure that you are delivering in the best way possible. You want their entire dining experience (from calling in and placing the food order to first opening up the container and seeing how good the food looks to diving in and eating) to be as enjoyable as possible. Any hiccup along the way could be just the reason for them to call a competitor next time around.

Remember, for all your food service packaging needs, Genpak is here make this process easy for you. Have you recently added food delivery to your business? What obstacles have you run into? Let us know what questions you have and we will help you out.

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