Sustainable packaging: The Future of Takeaway and Delivery

The last few years have seen major changes implemented on nearly all businesses. The food-, takeaway-, and delivery markets are no exceptions, with the COVID pandemic drastically changing how we shop and eat. To stay afloat, many meal-delivery services were started, and it’s estimated that this alone was responsible for 70% of the delivery industry’s growth from 2019 to 2020. 

However, it would seem this has led to an explosion in the market. For instance, where the online takeaway food delivery market was valued at $192.22 billion in 2021, it is expected to reach $466.01 billion by 2030 – an impressive compound annual growth rate of 10.34%. Don’t overlook the grocery delivery segment, which should show a revenue growth of 20.6% by 2024. 

Other reasons for this major shift include: 

  • More and more people are working from home, resulting in more people ordering takeaway- or delivery lunches instead of going out for a traditional “lunch hour” 
  • More meal-delivery businesses (from Foodpanda to UberEats) are popping up to serve hungry, urban residents
  • Dark kitchens (also called ‘ghost kitchens’ or ‘cloud kitchens’), a popular concept which emerged during the pandemic, focuses exclusively on delivery and/or takeout since they offer no in-house dining or walk-ins.  

Current state of takeaway and delivery packaging

With increased market share and rising concerns about plastic pollution, plus the fact that disposable- and sustainably designed products are becoming more vital, nearly all companies have been forced going greener. While some businesses are making the switch to biodegradable- and/or compostable packaging, others are opting for reusable containers. Some  are going the extra mile and offering a plastic-free ‘weigh-and-pay’ shopping experience that lets you stock (and restock) your pantry with quality groceries without wasteful packaging.  

The main characteristics of this new style of eating are faster-than-average preparation and, particularly, the dish’s packaging. Food packaging must be simple, efficient and reproducible, and needs to be delivered to the customer in the shortest possible time. And to achieve this, it requires the following characteristics:

  • lightweight, 
  • stackable, 
  • stable in use, 
  • able to be resealed in a few simple steps, and 
  • able to maintain the freshness and temperature of the food.

 All this has to be considered in the current ecological and economic context, where the eco-responsibility of companies is continuously evaluated. Adding chemicals and non-ecological ingredients to products is particularly unacceptable in the catering sector. Consumers are also very interested in eating healthy food packed in environmentally friendly packaging, further boosting the potential of sustainable packaging.  

Benefits of using sustainable packaging for takeaway and delivery 

  • Using packaging made from renewable resources minimises your contribution to global warming.
  • As sustainable packaging can be recycled and/or reused numerous times, you keep fighting against climate change every time you shop.  
  • Green packaging is also free of dangerous toxins, which are usually found in traditional packaging, making it the safer option not only for our planet, but also its people. 
  • Businesses enjoy long-term cost savings by switching to sustainable packaging, since it cuts down on the amount of packaging materials used to ship goods.  
  • Going greener can boost your brand’s reputation by attracting more consumers looking to support companies with green credentials. 

The (sustainable) future is here

Going greener has certainly rubbed off on consumers, as  a recent study  showed that 54% prefer ordering from restaurants that remove excess packaging from their food delivery. In addition, 56% prefer restaurants that use eco friendly packaging and not single-use plastics. Isn’t it time you also made the smart move and opted for MBA Green’s range of sustainable packaging products?