Is ditching the packaging the best idea?

As the world focuses on how we can be more environmentally friendly (and rightly so). We should sometimes take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Some of these eco movements are great, but not without their faults. Is ditching the packaging the best idea?

Hear us out. We know it’s a controversial thing to say, but as a company that works in the hospitality industry with a focus on allergies, we do wonder. 

Why did we start using packaging?

Packaging has been around for decades, if not longer. There are records going back to the 1800s where animal hides and cloth was used to wrap around foods. This isn’t the only solution for people using mason jars and cans. While it seems like a current trend, it dates back to the 1800s (if not beyond). So food packaging has been something we have dealt with for hundreds of years, in part packaging is to protect the food inside and prolong its shelf life. As the years moved on, packaging was enhanced with branding and ingredient lists. As science discovered more allergies and sensitivities some people were susceptible, to packaging became a lifesaver for those. 

Checking the packaging labels ensure that a food or product is safe for those with allergies to consume. As global warming has taken front and centre, many cafes and takeout restaurants, and even some stores, have taken steps to reduce the amount of packaging they have on their premises. While these steps are great for the environment, they aren’t always best for those who suffer from highly sensitive allergies. 

Cross contamination is something restaurants are highly aware of when it comes to raw and cooked foods. But this cross contamination can also apply to those with severe allergies. Someone who has a severe nut allergy has to ensure that the foods they consume do not contain nuts or traces of nuts. If a food has been in contact with something that contains nuts, and they are unaware of this cross contamination then the consequences could be detrimental.  

Some supermarkets have made the move to zero packaging, and cafes, where take-out food is the preferred option, may move towards this option too. Having foods sat under covers and trays with only a few scoops or tongs available to use could cause a nightmare for cross contamination.

Should you ditch the packaging?

We don’t think we should ignore the impact that global warming is having on the earth. We simply believe that we should have a broader conversation about the impact some of these zero packaging take-outs may have. Investing in recycled materials and where possible will solve part of the problem. Businesses should be looking at how they can be more eco friendly on a larger scale. While also ensuring their foods are safe for consumption by those with severe allergies.

Is ditching the packaging the only option when it comes to being environmentally friendly in the hospitality industry? 

We don’t think it is. There are many amazing, forward thinking options out there. We as an industry need to consider all alternatives, and not the most obvious ones. 

Allergen Checker is available for a 7 day free trial. Our labeling service makes it easier for companies in the hospitality industry to provide accurate information about allergens which may be found in their menus. Providing your customers with as much information ensures their  safety when it comes to food allergies.