The global trend for an ‘immersive experience’ has spanned most sectors in recent years and the foodservice industry is no exception. The demand for an immersive relationship with the food consumed outside of the home is a key trend running through the market. And it’s one that represents a host of exciting opportunities for the foodservice packaging industry. However, with competition growing more intense from convenience and on-the-go sectors, key foodservice packaging players need to be forward-thinking to thrive in this fast-paced environment.
Today’s consumers are better connected, well-travelled and quick to spot anything deemed to be ‘fake’. So, it’s no surprise that well-educated food-enthusiasts in 2017 are keen for their foodie experiences to match up to the recipes, images and innovative packaging ideas they’ve pinned, liked and shared online, or sampled when abroad. In this blog, we explore the key trends driving the foodservice industry and what packaging solutions need to deliver to meet the challenge.
1. Hot restaurant quality food direct to your door
The industry is witnessing rapid growth in the use of third-party delivery firms, according to foodservice consultants Horizons. The likes of Deliveroo and UberEATS are dominating the delivery space, dropping hot and tasty ‘at-home dining’ options direct to the consumer’s door from an extensive range of local restaurants and fast food outlets.
So, why would the average foodservice customer venture away from the comfort of their sofa when their favourite restaurant food can arrive at their home so easily? Well, this type of food must, of course, be delivered piping hot in order to satisfy the consumer. Packaging that offers this function becomes extremely important when ratings and reviews are key to the success or failure of fast food e-tailers.
2. Experiencing a new wave of global cuisines
An authentic flavour experience that extends past the local Indian or Chinese takeaway is now a requirement for many consumers. Inspiration for this trend stems from the ever multiplying food halls and markets to be found in the UK, such as Trinity Kitchen in Leeds. These outlets pique consumer curiosity by encouraging them to try lots of new and different flavours from around the world such as tabbouleh, harissa and gochujang.
This type of offer is often priced to encourage many small dishes to be tried together. Crystal clear packaging solutions come into their own as consumers can browse and select chilled items while in the queue. Packaging that caters for hot and cold foods, as well as dips and oils, is also instrumental in helping to create an immersive, mezze-style experience
3. Creating a sense of community at mealtimes
It’s no surprise that food hall and street food dining concepts are taking the out-of-home dining environment by storm. The human race is a sociable one and consumers instinctively crave interaction. In the spirit of the Danish cultural phenomenon, hygge, eating concepts that inspire small communal gatherings and generate feelings of inclusiveness, are growing in popularity.
Demonstrated by the plethora of craft beer, cured meat and cheese outlets popping up around the country, consumers are increasingly keen to tap into this by replacing one main dish with a picnic-style variety of meal solutions and snacks to create a ‘sharing environment’. This is intrinsically linked to the greater demand for (and availability of) ‘authentic’, better-for-you, vegan, gluten-free and superfood solutions.
So do today’s packaging solutions address food service industry trends?
It goes without saying that the grazing-style, ‘immersive experience’ approach detailed in all three instances above can ultimately result in too much food being purchased. All re-sealable packs, and in particular, rigid lidded packs come into their own in this instance, allowing the consumer to take food away and save it for later.
Multi-tasking packaging such as this continues to gain momentum as the line between convenience and foodservice sectors becomes steadily more blurred than in previous years. And one global challenge that both industries must face is how to tackle food waste.
Packaging manufacturers have never had a greater opportunity to develop exciting, innovative foodservice packs that meet the needs of today’s consumer. Discover more about what the LINPAC foodservice packaging solutions, including our new rPET foodservice range for 2017, can do for your business.