For generations, brands building a national presence relied solely on a brick-and-mortar strategy and made significant investments over decades. Brick-and-mortar brands often end up spending maximum revenue on rent and operation costs and face various challenges while scaling up across geographies. India also has a high rent-to-sales ratio and even before the pandemic, the business model was not always profitable. With the onset of the pandemic and lockdown, many restaurants were forced to shut down as they could not possibly cover their overhead costs with just delivery. That is where cloud kitchens and delivery became the game-changers. And, today delivery is a reality, and here to stay for a variety of reasons such as ease of scaling up and lower operation costs.
But as we have seen more and more players jumping on the delivery game, there comes the efficiency, menu, packaging and other important aspects of delivering the food right to the homes. Also, as more and more people are becoming health conscious, sustainable packaging is the way forward.
What does sustainability even mean?
According to United Nations it is a “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” If too many of us use resources inefficiently or generate waste too quickly for the environment to absorb and process, future generations won’t be able to meet their needs.
As per reports, packaging waste poses a serious threat to the environment. Over 70% of packaging that gets disposed is single use disposed on average in less than 15 minutes of use. This packaging then either stays on the planet forever in landfills, broken micro particles, carbon gas emissions or in the bellies of animals and fishes. The wide-scale use of single-use packaging is not only polluting the rivers, oceans, and soil, but it is harming the human lives as well. Hence, sustainable packaging is catching attention of brands that are keen on taking a bigger share in the delivery market.
“Given the current ‘New Normal’, a lot of thought has been put into the packaging of food – factoring in different contributors such as kind of cuisine, temperature, distance travelled, mode of transport, consumption techniques, etc. While every order has a WeAssure seal confirming that the customer is the first to come in direct contact with it after preparation, the food is packed in plant starched clamshell boxes - finally parcelled in a biodegradable bag with an aqueous coating. In order to preserve the taste and texture of each signature dish provided to our patrons, each delivery comes with a heating manual with simple recommendations to best enjoy the type of cuisine ordered,” shared Manas V. Krishnamoorthy, General Manager at ITC Windsor who believed that the usage of eco-friendly materials for packaging or takeaway menu adds another layer of trust and satisfaction for his diners and patrons.
Healthy and Sustainable is the new Green
There has never been a greater need for sustainable alternatives. By 2050, plastic usage alone could emit up to 56 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating the climate crisis. Leading the conversation on sustainability, food delivery platform Living Food Company, has incorporated environmentally conscious packaging across a wide range of products. With its 360 degree approach towards the environment, it is helping to catalyze behaviour change to build a safer and more sustainable planet.
“We have been using Banana leaves, Bamboo and Areca (Palm) leaf packaging for leafy greens and veggies from Day 1. It definitely hasn’t been easy, but by building sustainability into the business at a foundational level, it has allowed us to evolve around this central pillar, rather than chasing our tails trying to make things more environmentally friendly later on. It is far easier to come up with new ways of doing things from the beginning, than try and change entrenched operational practices,” pointed Shikha Lakhanpal, PhD. and Co-founder and COO at Living Food Company whose packaging has been 95% plastic free for the last 3 years.
It’s a global trend
QSR majors like KFC and McDonald’s have already taken a step closer to building environment plastic free. On World Environment Day (June 5), KFC Canada announced a huge milestone in its sustainability journey by 2025, all consumer-facing packaging will be fully home compostable.
KFC will begin piloting its first home compostable bucket this year. This bold commitment will divert nearly 200 million pieces of packaging from Canadian landfills each year.
“One of our leading principles at KFC Canada is feeding people, not landfills. The move to 100% home compostable consumer packaging is a bold and ambitious step we are taking to inspire positive change in the communities we operate in,” said Nivera Wallani, President & General Manager, KFC Canada told at the time of announcement.
The QSR chain is testing fibre-based cutlery, introduction of bamboo buckets, removing plastic straws and bags at its stores across Canada.
Similarly, the largest burger chain McDonald’s Global announced that it has planned to source all its packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources.
“Our goal is to source 100% of our guest packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources, and recycle guest packaging in 100% of McDonald’s restaurants by 2025. We understand that recycling infrastructure varies from city to city and country to country, but we plan to be part of the solution and help influence powerful change,” shared the release.
To achieve this, its packaging and recycling strategy encompasses a wide range of initiatives to reduce their use of packaging, switch to more sustainable materials and help their customers to recycle.
As these packaging solutions provide higher efficiency, superior quality as well as effective waste management processes. Using simple timeless solutions, brands are able to create environmentally friendly solutions that are good for the consumers and right for the Planet Earth.