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As the hospitality industry prepares to reopen its doors, adaptations are being made not just to welcome customers back, but to assuage fears associated with new social distancing and hygiene measures. This is represented by a shift from buffet dining to pre-packed, in-room meals.

With hotels and restaurants across the UK carefully watching the actions of European counterparts as the lockdown easing migrates from east to west, Colpac, the Bedfordshire based food packaging designer and manufacturer, has seen a significant increase in demand for room service and take-away packaging solutions from international chains across Europe.

Utilising its in-house creative expertise and international market knowledge, Colpac is working with customers to develop adaptable packaging solutions to meet the current needs of the hospitality industry.

“Our European teams have responded to the evolving demands from international hospitality customers and created solutions to meet these needs, and we are now seeing this demand filtering through to the UK market,” explains Kate Berry, Colpac’s Head of Marketing and Product. “Having significant product stock levels has put Colpac in a prime position to develop packaging which meets the industry’s unique needs.”

The days of buffet dining are invariably numbered for the foreseeable future

Flexible & hygienic solution for in-room dining

While some hotels have remained open to key workers throughout the pandemic, for the general population a hotel stay will undoubtedly be vastly different in a post-COVID-19 world. The days of buffet dining are invariably numbered for the foreseeable future, with hotel chains exploring novel ways of delivering breakfast, lunch, and dinner to guests.

From an increase in in-room dining, to boxes of pre-prepared food boxes stored in a refrigerator, major hotel chains need quality packaging solutions to instil confidence with guests, whilst delivering food hygienically and upholding their brand reputation.

To meet this demand, Colpac is developing innovative hotel dine-in or take-out packaging solutions, including adapting its popular paperboard platters to create a room service tray.

Providing total flexibility, the platters create an effective solution for carrying a variety of dishes and accompaniments, enabling hotels to move away from re-using traditional trays and cutlery – eliminating the risk of cross contamination.

Colpac’s varied range of food packaging including pillow packs for wraps and paninis, souper pots for porridge or soup and multi food boxes for both hot and cold dishes, can be used to divide the space, enabling a number of different dishes, from starters to mains and desserts to be delivered at the same time. Inserts can also be incorporated to maximise the space, whilst allowing for the inclusion of sauces and disposable utensils too. Providing greater hygiene assurances, each food packaging item can be sealed once filled in the kitchen, and the platter sleeves encase the entire base, eliminating any contamination risk on the journey to a guest’s bedroom. The guest can then easily slide the tray out of the sleeve.

Platters provide the hygeininc replacement for the room service tray

Boxed up to take-away

Hotels that have remained open throughout the pandemic for keyworkers have likely set a blueprint for the wider hospitality industry in preparation for reopening. One concept adopted was the creation of pre-made boxed meals which key workers could take away for breakfast, or to dine in their rooms.

This concept is set to be rolled out across many hotels with demand for disposable carry packs rising. Featuring easy-to-carry handles and suitable for holding a multitude of different food items, which are sealed both at the macro level of the outer packaging and the micro for the inner packaging, Colpac’s carry packs provide a tamper proof, hygienic solution to reassure users.

The carry packs and multi food boxes are also in demand by restaurants and bars where there will be a greater emphasis on take-away food. As these businesses adapt themselves to adhere to the strict social distancing guidelines, there is growing concern that many establishments will be unable to run at a profitable capacity due to a reduced number of tables. Increasing options for take-away food and having the right food packaging to hand to cater to this will offer a lifeline to many.

Significantly, each packaging solution from Colpac meets sustainability goals being either recyclable and/or compostable. “While the sustainability message is not currently at the forefront of the hospitality industry’s mindset, it is not forgotten and, once we are through this pandemic, it will resurface as a crucial objective. In the meantime, Colpac will continue to deliver the sustainable message through our food packaging,” Kate concludes.

Carry packs provide a convenient solution for room service or take out food
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