Almost 65,000 commercial foodservice outlets including bars, cafes and restaurants have been forced to pivot over the last six weeks due to the Australian Government-ordered COVID-19 shutdowns. Those that have remained open, or are beginning to re-open, are offering customers restaurant-quality eats to takeaway, or have delivered to their door. Whilst businesses have completely transformed their business model overnight, customers are enjoying their favourites in a takeaway format and the boom in food delivery is continuing to increase as new research shows food delivery spending 213 per cent above normal in the week of April 27-May 4.
With the dramatic transformation for businesses, it has never been more critical for foodservice businesses to choose the right packaging. The packaging industry is playing a vital role in offering hygienic low-touch food grade solutions to protect food ready for consumption.
One of Australia’s food packaging experts, Marinucci, is a leader in food packaging innovation and understands how important packaging is for a foodservice business. It is currently assisting businesses whose supply chain has been disrupted, as well as those that have turned to take-away and food delivery to remain open.
With the increased awareness of health and hygiene and the rise in home ‘contactless’ delivery services, pick-up and drive-thru, customers will begin to favour the relative safety and security offered by good packaging. David Marinucci, CEO, Marinucci explains, “Packaging plays a vital role in ensuring food is properly protected in the journey from kitchen to consumer. Should the packaging be tamper-evident? Can items be pre-packed for customers to walk-in and grab them? How can a foodservice operator ensure the dishes arrive safely to a customer? Once the food is at the customer’s home, does it need to be microwaved, reheated, frozen or kept airtight? These are the types of questions a chef or café owner needs to answer as they make their packaging decisions, as they can greatly affect the freshness of the food, and customer experience.
“In the last few months, we have seen the foodservice industry pivot into a takeaway sector. Chefs and café owners need to think about packaging and how it can assist their business and become part of their offering. It’s not just about protecting the freshness, temperature of the food and minimising food waste. It is also about providing packaging that is fit for purpose and can easily be recycled,” said Marinucci.
“We understand that the right packaging solution can be critical to the future of a foodservice business, so we are helping customers to manage their cashflow by offering no minimum order value, $10 delivery charge in metropolitan areas and same day dispatch for ordering online. Like us, many of our customers have an obsession with food so we know how important it is that as an industry, we all help each other get through this,” said Marinucci.
As the lockdown restrictions begin to ease, the focus will be on assisting those heavily impacted get back to business and operating successfully again. Research released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), shows that 84 per cent of accommodation and food service businesses expect their businesses will be affected in the next two months. For venues that are re-opening, there is going to be an emphasis on sanitation processes, and packaging will play a part in this. An example of this is smaller venues, that don’t have commercial dishwashers with sanitising options above 80 degrees to ensure hygiene, will rely on good quality environmentally conscious packaging.
“Whilst this is an extremely challenging time for the foodservice industry, looking at the future after the COVID-19 crisis, I believe we will see restaurants and cafes continue to offer home delivery and pick-up options. Consumers are enjoying the convenience and speed of delivery and those businesses with healthy, high quality, take-away options who can replicate the dine-in experience will see additional opportunities for their business. Our job will be to continue to innovate and offer solutions to protect the freshness of the food, whilst supporting the chef and café owners, and of course, making it a wonderful experience for consumers,” Marinucci said.