In recent years, the farm-to-table movement has picked up steam as more consumers demand locally-sourced ingredients. Now, a younger generation wants green packaging and accompanying paper products as well.
Therefore, taking the steps to transition to sustainable packaging, and promoting the change, is now a crucial part of your branding. It will not only bring in new customers, but also provide assurance to your loyal patrons that you are a responsible world citizen who pays attention their customers’ desires.
Sustainable packaging covers both the front and back end, so knowing where your containers and paper product come from is as important as what happens to it once it has been discarded.
Ask yourself, is your packaging made from recycled products, and is it recyclable after it is used? Where is the product manufactured? Is the manufacturing plant regulated and safe, and are the employees treated well?
Knowing the answers to these questions and printing the answers on your packaging and menus can make a huge statement about your restaurant and your role in the world.
If the product is not made from recycled material, you should be looking for packaging derived from renewable plantations and not from razed forests with no concern by the manufacturer for re-growth.
An easy way to be assured that you are dishing out sustainability is to make sure that a non-profit, neutral organization certifies the brand. The following are top-notch NGOs that you can trust to verify sustainable products:
- Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)
- Program for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC)
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
There are lots of materials out there to choose from, you need to pick containers that are best for your product. It should be a thoughtful process in which you minimize environmental impact while maintaining product durability to ensure that the food does not spill or get damaged, and is not exposed to the elements.
There will likely be trial and error, so, you should err on the side of caution at first by not making huge commitments and focusing on continuous improvement. Your customers will thank you for your efforts with their continued loyalty.
Brand perception is an important factor for success, and sustainability is becoming a big part of our world. By doing a little research and understanding the process, you will maintain green consumers, and most likely, feel rewarded in other ways.