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Consumer Trends

Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainability in quality packaging

Photograph: Huhtamaki

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer demands regarding health, sustainability and packaging shifted; diners wanted to make sure the food they were ordering for delivery and takeout was safe and secure. According to Technomic’s January 2021 presentation, “Reinvent Part 3: Safety and Sanitation Reigns, Sustainability Returns,” 82% of operators said they had at least one sustainability initiative that was put on hold amid the pandemic. But now, with things largely getting back to normal, operators may want to revisit those sustainability goals—that same presentation found that 40% of consumers intend to integrate more sustainable behaviors in their lives in light of the pandemic.

Packaging, both safe and eco-friendly, has been a top sustainability initiative this year, and with the rise in popularity in takeout and delivery, it’s important for operators to seek out quality packaging to ensure the food they’re offering gets to diners in good condition.

To ensure food gets delivered in top quality—while also incorporating sustainable options—operators should seek out vendors and suppliers who place a high priority on sustainability, such as Huhtamaki.

“Packaging is essential for food systems,” says Thomasine Kamerling, Executive Vice President, Sustainability and Communications for Huhtamaki, “but we all know that we have more to do to deliver a low carbon circular economy. At Huhtamaki, we are material positive, choosing the right material for the right situation and scaling it up to protect food, people and the planet.”

While packaging plays a role in the overall sustainability of a restaurant, one of the biggest impacts on the environment from the food system is actually food waste; by implementing quality packaging that offers hygiene, safety and affordability, operators can help minimize food waste at the same time as they’re minimizing impact on the environment with packaging. 

Huhtamaki is investing heavily in sustainable paperboard containers that can be used to store food items that have traditionally been stored in plastic containers, such as yogurt, cottage cheese and butter. Paperboard offers a more recyclable option for operators and customers, but the barriers added to it to protect it from getting wet can reduce the recyclability; Huhtamaki aims to minimize these barriers to make paperboard more efficient and possible to compost, while remaining sturdy enough to service restaurants’ needs.

As consumers continue to seek out restaurants that are aligned with their values surrounding the environment as well as quality, sustainable packaging that ensures food stays fresh-tasting will be crucial. Huhtamaki offers a range of different sustainable packaging solutions, including beverage-to-go single- and double-walled paper cups, coffee cups, cold drink cups and more, as well food-to-go containers, trays, clamshells, bowls and more. To learn more about options for restaurants, click here.

This post is sponsored by Huhtamaki

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