4 ways to meet consumer demands

Flexible packaging allows foodservice retailers to expand their menu, not their kitchens

flex prep sealed air

From Sealed Air.

Today’s consumers want it all: quick service, affordable prices and a wide variety of global flavors. That can be a tall order for the fast-food and quick-service restaurant industry. With tight margins, staff turnover, and ever-changing customer preferences, owners and operators are always on the lookout for a safe, easy way to increase operational efficiency while still serving up the high-quality items their customers have come to expect.

Offering global flavors

According to the National Restaurant Association What’s Hot 2017 Culinary Forecast, condiments such as Sriracha, sambal, chimichurri—among others—were voted a hot trend by 59% of the professional chefs polled. As consumers’ palates change and expand, operators may need to adjust their menu offerings. One of the most efficient ways to do this is by increasing the flavor options on a menu with condiments. Sauces and condiments allow curious consumers to customize their order and foodservice industry workers to deliver fresh, global flavors.

But having an arsenal of different sauces and condiments in the kitchen has the potential to be costly and take up extra space. This is especially critical for back-of-house operations, where every inch lost and each second saved adds up. Innovative packaging can help hold the answer for operators looking to increase their menu without increasing their kitchen space.

Rather than using the traditional rigid options like cans or jars—which require extra space and rely on scooping from one container to another, increasing food safety risks—operators now have another choice. Cryovac® FlexPrep™ is a new flexible pouch system used to dispense condiments and sauces. The system has wide-ranging benefits from menu expansion to food safety to sustainability.

Cutting back on containers, not quality

Saving space without cutting corners, FlexPrep helps improve customer experience without compromising velocity, cost and speed of service. The low-profile packaging takes up less space than traditional canisters while also improving shelf life and product yield to help boost cost savings. That means foodservice operators can stock more options—keeping products safe and fresh—without increasing their kitchen size.

Plus, the easy-to-use bag delivers increased portion control, so all employees can help deliver a consistently excellent experience for customers. By reducing the need to scoop product from larger containers, the hermetically sealed flexible package reduces the risk for contamination, ultimately increasing food safety outcomes. And without the need to tear, cut or puncture the package, workers don’t need to worry about the risk of injury.

Tackling food waste

In addition to taste preferences, modern consumers—especially millennials—care about the integrity and sustainability of the companies they choose to patronize. This important customer set is increasingly connected to the products they buy, and they place a premium on social responsibility and issues like food waste and recyclability. Sustainable packaging options present an opportunity for foodservice brands to demonstrate their commitment to solving the problem of food loss and waste. More environmentally friendly than previous solutions, FlexPrep, for example, uses 60% less packaging than traditional means to reduce carbon footprint and increases shelf-life to cut down on unnecessary food waste.

Striking a balance

Consumers base their purchasing decisions on many factors—speed and convenience, consistency and service, quality and flavor, and even corporate responsibility. With so many aspects to balance, even the smallest contribution to business efficiency cannot be overlooked. Flexible pouch packaging options like FlexPrep can have a big impact across foodservice operations, helping savvy foodservice professionals increase savings, sustainability and quality.

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