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    Package Power

    Take a cue from meal kits for prettier packaging.

    Many trend watchers credit prepared meal services with changing the foodservice game, and one of the greatest influences so far has been on food packaging. With colorful boxes, beautiful logos and carefully wrapped spices and ingredients, these meal kits arrive like lovely gifts on recipients’ doorsteps.

    And who wouldn’t want a special delivery from Chef Jamie Oliver, the latest big-name chef to enter the meal kit arena? The results of his three-year collaboration with the HelloFresh company are now available in 100 percent recyclable boxes packed with sustainable insulation materials that keep ingredients cool for 24 hours. Tucked into the boxes are well-designed recipe cards, colorful fresh vegetables and labels with origin stories.

    “Whether they use Cryovac techniques or mold-injection options, the packaging on these meal kits is always interesting,” says Christine Keller, director of trend practice at San Francisco’s CCD Innovation, a food and beverage product development agency. She points out that meal delivery techniques can serve as a reminder to supermarkets that packaging improvements go a long way to upgrading prepared foods and salad bar options.

    Raley’s Supermarkets chef Evelyn Miliate describes how the grocery chain recently revamped the store’s to-go meal packaging, replacing black-topped plastic tubs with clear containers featuring smaller labels that allow for greater visibility.

    “We are able to use small labels because our food is minimally processed, and we use ingredients that our customers can understand,” Miliate explains. “Plus, they can see more of the food now.”

    Many Raley’s packages have small compartments that allow customers to add flavoring elements, such as feta and olives for Tuscan pasta salad, in desired amounts. Simple craft paper labeling discloses nutrition information and ingredients.

    “The clear packaging reflects our move to healthier, cleaner, all-natural ingredients and lower sodium levels,” Miliate says.

    Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

    • Fresh food with a fresh look and less packaging than CPG options
    • Transparent food labels and to-go packaging
    • Reusable, non-disposable options for frequent buyers

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