Operations

Developing the right packaging plan for student meals

As plans to feed students safely come into focus, the importance, and value, of versatility is increasing.

As plans to feed students safely come into focus, the importance, and value, of versatility is growing. Packaging plays a critical role in this, and the right packaging plan can offer school Foodservice Directors options that are both highly functional and adaptable as they continue to shift their operations. 

To develop a solid plan, look to the tools and resources developed by the quick-serve restaurant industry to support the growth of takeout and delivery meals for their customers. Quick-service restaurant operators needed solutions that delivered functionality, flexibility, SKU minimization and efficiency. Schools require those same solutions and more—they need packaging that is compatible with serving both hot and cold meals, spanning a range of temperatures. They also need packaging that offers performance with portability, as well as a variety of compartment designs, from single- to multi-compartment options.  

Demonstrated success at tens of thousands of restaurant locations across the country has proven that rigid polypropylene plastic containers offer the best performance for these needs. Further, because polypropylene is a very effective moisture barrier, food shelf life is extended, while retaining taste and important vitamins. Retail food storage containers such as GladWare®, Ziploc® and others are made from polypropylene and these leading consumer brands chose that material for these exact performance characteristics.  These polypropylene packages, available in foodservice-specific designs from Anchor Packaging are available at affordable prices and are in use in many school systems across the country.

These containers withstand temperatures up to 230°F in warming units, under heat lamps and in microwaves. They also withstand refrigeration, which means a single packaging solution can be used to safely serve both hot and cold meals. This broad temperature performance also allows the prepackaging of meals during slower times to accommodate the lunch rush or other times of high demand. Clear, anti-fog lids provide direct food visibility to prevent serving errors. Clear containers also enhance food safety, as they eliminate the need to open packages to check contents. 

These packages were designed to travel, too, and can accommodate dining in multiple locations throughout a school or campus. Finally, different shapes and sizes, as well as single and multi-compartment designs, assist with portion control and food costs.

Anchor Packaging, the national leader in polypropylene takeout and delivery food packaging, manufactures a collection of containers specifically for school foodservice needs. Their containers, available in hinged or two-piece (base and lid separate) options, are produced domestically in BRC-certified food-safe facilities and are available from an extensive network of distributors. All are FDA-approved and Kosher-approved. Also, all Anchor Packaging containers are PFAS-free, BPA-free and are curbside recyclable in most communities.

For more information, to request a free sample kit to test with food or to connect with an Anchor Packaging specialist to help develop a solution for school foodservice needs, click here.

This post is sponsored by Anchor Packaging

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