Category Archives: Eco-Friendly Tableware

Chef Inspiration | Watermelon Gazpacho

RebeccaPictures 096Recipe creation can be a fun, gratifying and satiating experience. With all of your senses in high gear, you draw from various food-related memories – be it last week at a gourmet restaurant or a childhood experience like cooking with a grandparent, which is deeply ingrained in your soul. Your kitchen turns into a science lab, as you try out different flavor combinations and translate a memory into reality. Continue reading

How to Spruce Up Your Salads

IMG_1700It’s not easy being a salad. When was the last time you heard someone rave about a restaurant or event because of a salad they ate there? That’s a rhetorical question, but the answer is most likely never. Self proclaimed foodies’ and those who ‘live to eat’ pride themselves on the pleasurable experience that food brings them. They hold dining out at a restaurant to a high esteem and in most instances, will opt for the more exotic, satiating or fulfilling dining option, rather than the healthy one or the dish that has the lowest calorie count.

But not all hope is lost for salads. It turns out that being a foodie and a health nut is not mutually exclusive. Recently, there has been a growing trend to eat locally grown and seasonal produce. Several ‘farm to table’ restaurants have been popping up in major cities around the country. If that doesn’t have your diners convinced, we have come up with some suggestions that can elevate your salad up to must-have meal status.

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Doggie Bags: A Sign of Awareness Not Embarrassment

When is the last time you asked to take leftovers home from a restaurant? Today, more and more chefs and restaurateurs do not want to see good food go to waste, and encourage the idea of diners taking food home that they haven’t finished. But it wasn’t always this way, and to this day, many diners are still not comfortable with the practice.

doggiebagontable3According to the Smithsonian Institute’s blog Food & Think, the custom of using “doggie bags” started in the U.S. in the 1940’s during the Second World War, when pet owners were encouraged to feed table scraps rather than pet food to their dogs. And in 1943, San Francisco cafes started an initiative against animal cruelty by offering patrons “Pet Pakits” — cartons designed specifically to carry home leftovers for their pets. Around that same time, one Seattle restaurant provided diners with waxed paper bags labeled “Bones for Bowser.” Restaurants around the country started to follow suit, and by the mid 1950’s, doggie bags went into production. Before long, people were requesting doggie bags to take home food for themselves rather than their pets.

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Planning an Event? It’s Time to Go Green

sugarcane-event-tray

Having a green event is something that anyone can do — all it takes is a little bit of research and some planning. There are lots of “green party guidelines” available online, or you can always choose to hire a green caterer or environmentally committed party planner to help out. Because events tend to consume so many resources and generate quite a lot of waste, “greening” your next event is a great way to lessen the carbon footprint of your next big (or small) bash.

What IS a green event? It’s an event that is organized with the goal of minimizing waste and promoting sustainable actions.  It’s not just about recycling though — it’s about reducing the amount of resources used, encouraging the reuse of resources, and making sure that materials are properly disposed through recycling or composting as much as possible.

Most of the “standard” ways of planning an event usually do have environmentally preferable alternatives. Some examples might include sending paperless invitations, buying seasonal locally grown food and flowers, using natural or reusable decor, minimizing printed materials, and buying event supplies and tableware that are environmentally friendly.

Here’s something to think about: according to the Green Restaurant Association more than 113 BILLION disposable cups, 29 BILLION disposable plates and 39 BILLION disposable utensils are used in the U.S. each year. Wow.

Using compostable tableware and serving utensils are one of the easiest solutions to going green at your next event. Choices go from simple everyday designs to more stylish options for higher end occasions.

At PacknWood, our extensive range of party and catering supplies make planning your green event much easier. Our catering trays have recycled plastic lids that easily transform the trays into take-out boxes for party leftovers, and our Stylish Sugarcane collection is biodegradable and can be thrown right into the compost heap. And our cornstarch-based disposable utensils are designed to decompose soon after use in a compost bin.

squaresugarcaneround tray

Here’s another tip: if you choose compostable-ware,  it’s especially important to let people know WHAT IS WHAT, and WHERE TO PUT IT. People are used to throwing items that look like plastic (such as utensils) into recycling bins but compostables cannot be re-processed with regular plastic– they must go in the compost bin. Clearly label the recycling, composting and trash bins to let people know exactly where everything goes.

 

We would love to see pics of your next green event!

“Green” Packaging for Foods To-Go: What Does It Mean and Does It Matter

Compostable, recyclable, made from recycled material, biodegradable, green, eco-friendly…the list goes on to describe the types of packaging made from sustainable materials.

It seems like everyone in the food industry, from corporate giants to small café owners are jumping on the “green band wagon.” But what does it really mean to be “green”?

It could mean a few different things:
– Green could mean less damage to the environment.
– Green could imply producing packaging from renewable resources.
– Green could involve designing products for environmental sustainability.
– Green could suggest the use of less material and also recyclable and degradable materials.

And do your customers care if their banana bread was baked in a FSC certified wood baking mold, or if they are eating their salad with a biodegradable fork? Yes! Research studies done over the past few years show that they DO care.

In fact, studies* show that factors relating to the environment rank among the top issues that consumers care about, and that sustainability in packaging is not only important but that people are willing to pay more for it.

packnwood-sugarcane-takeoutDesigners are meeting this demand and have found incredibly innovative ways to create both compelling and effective packaging out of sustainable materials. For example, Bagasse – a paper-like substance made from the pulp of sugarcane stalks – used to be burned in fields creating an enormous amount of pollution, and now it can be easily molded into different shapes and sizes to make to make plates, bowls, to go containers, and trays.

packnwood-takeout-boxAs new materials continue to be introduced, some products also incorporate multiple pieces of a package or container that can be independently recycled. For example, at PacknWood, we offer an innovative packing design in our Buckatay Collection that uses paper for the round to-go containers, combined with recyclable transparent plastic lids, and stored in a cardboard carrying case.

If you have a bakery, restaurant, or catering company, making the choice to purchase sustainable packaging supplies, and serving your to-go food on green disposables is one of the ways that you can grow the reputation of your business AND please the growing number of your eco-conscious customers.

At PacknWood we use a range of materials to make our always evolving and innovative products: different types of wood, palm leaf and bamboo, sugarcane, and a number of paper products. It’s always our priority to bring you new and original products that meet your unique demands. (Click here to see the full line.)

* To read more about the study done by WARP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) on consumer attitudes towards food packaging, go to http://www.suedpack.co.uk/2014/04/28/consumer-attitudes-towards-food-packaging/