This time of year, when the sun shines and the weather is mighty warm, we all run towards cool and cold things. The swimming pools and air conditioning and food and beverages that offer relief from the heat. Pick up a chilled salad from your favorite restaurant and chase it with an ice cream sundae from the ice cream shop – that will help a sunburn I’m sure! Okay, maybe not, but we sure do like our cold foods cold when the summer heat strikes.
I also know that when February rolls around and we’re all pining for these dog days of summer with a cup of soup, we’re going to want it piping hot to combat the cold and ice outside.
For those of us who live in “seasonal” climates, we regularly experience shifts in the weather. It’s hot in the summer, cold in the winter and a mix of everything in between. The local weather people regularly take a beating for not getting it right. Is it going to be hot? Is it going to be cold? We just want to know what’s going to happen!
Fortunately, we don’t usually have to guess these things when it comes to foodservice packaging. Cold food is cold and hot food is hot. At least, it is when the packaging performs. When it comes to foodservice packaging products, performance is key. The package has to do its job. Each year, in our State of the Industry survey, we ask foodservice operators what the most important characteristics are for their packaging. Every time, performance comes out on top.
As consumers, we want packaging products that performs well. We want a scoop of ice cream that stays cold and plate of macaroni and cheese that stays hot. We want a cold soda and a warm coffee to maintain temperature and not leak all over us. Packaging that performs keeps consumers happy.
Sounds simple, right? Not always. Each day, designers, engineers and researchers work to come up with new materials and methods for providing us with those experiences. Some innovations can be years in the making, and it takes more than just one party. The foodservice packaging value chain is always working on product performance. Raw material suppliers want to offer materials with the right thermal properties. Converters want to take those materials and shape them in a way that perhaps enhances those properties. Foodservice operators are coming up with the next hot (yes, pun intended!) menu item that needs to be packaged. Ultimately, this leads up to that point where we as consumers have a great packaging experience. Not just once, but over and over again.
So, no matter if it’s summer or winter, go out and enjoy your take-out meal and know that the foodservice packaging industry has put time, effort and thought into the packaging that keeps that meal exactly the way you expect it to be.
Now, if only someone could figure out the weather…