Ding-Dong! Better Food Delivery Packaging Is Here

Food Packaging

Note: The current health crisis is shedding new light on the importance of safe food delivery. While some people are relying on food delivery to avoid leaving home unnecessarily, others have concerns about the overall safety of delivery. Whether restaurants are using a contactless delivery method or reopening in full, food delivery packaging solutions are here to provide a measure of security in more ways than one.

Back when restaurant delivery options were more limited, “food delivery packaging” pretty much meant pizza boxes or Chinese takeout containers. That universe has exploded: Food delivery sales in the United States rose 55% year over year in 2019, and global sales are projected to rise to $200 billion by 2025.

Food delivery packaging is innovating to keep up with the surge in sales, resulting in food packaging design that addresses needs specific to transporting food from restaurant to home. The versatility, recyclability and antibacterial properties of paper packaging make it a logical choice for restaurant owners—and a favorite of their customers.

Not that classic food delivery boxes like the pizza box have gone away. In fact, they’re evolving. In 2016, inventors were granted two patents for improved “oyster pails,” or Chinese takeout containers—one for enhanced recyclability, another for tamper prevention. And every year in recent memory has seen a patent filed for a new pizza box. Actually, the new wave of food delivery packaging is largely thanks to another innovation—third-party delivery apps, which made up nearly 40% of delivery sales in the United States in 2019.

But the breakout stars of food delivery packaging solutions go beyond just getting food from door to door. They’re the result of listening to home diners’ needs. “Simply holding food for a short duration without leaking is no longer sufficient,” says Mike Mueller, director of strategic marketing in the food and beverage packaging division of WestRock, a leading corrugated packaging company. “Packaging must preserve food quality and temperature, keep food separated, and make the dining experience easy and enjoyable at home.”

Here are just a few benefits of recent food packaging design innovations:

They’re tamper-proof. Nearly 30% of delivery drivers admit to occasionally sneaking a morsel from their deliveries. New food packaging design protects deliveries, using innovations like tamper-evident adhesive strips on bags and containers. The recyclable Bio-Pak Protect line features a flap that users can lift to verify that orders are correct, offering an additional layer of security. The Guarantab box (pictured above) uses a paper lock that must be torn for the box to open, and “bear trap” ridges along the side walls make it difficult for people to reach into the sides of the carton.

They’re less messy. New manufacturing processes in food delivery packaging solutions let containers house the greasiest of dishes without spilling or seepage. Case in point: the award-winning carton for cheesy bacon fries. Some producers have even eliminated fluorochemicals from the mix, resulting in a 100% recyclable paperboard package like the EnShield Natural Kraft.

They’re meant for leftovers. Are your portions large enough to give your diners their next day’s lunch? Go with one of the microwaveable clamshells or other food packaging containers that let your fans reheat food at their convenience.

They let your restaurant’s personality shine. Your customers might not be eating in your space, but your carryout containers can bring the vibe of your restaurant into their homes. Paperboard plays well with a number of finishes and printing processes, giving restaurants the opportunity to do a little in-home branding with their food packaging design.

Photo courtesy Southern Champion Tray

Learn more about Packaging, as well as the added benefits and solutions from our other industry associations on our Association Partners page.

View Association Partners
Tags: