Corona – back to more packaging?

All over Europe, canteens and staff restaurants are switching from self-service to take-away solutions, delivery services are booming. The manufacturers of such packaging solutions are already experiencing increasing demand.

The German Federal Office for Risk Assessment (BfR) still gives the all-clear: „There are currently no cases in which it has been proven that people (…) have become infected with the novel corona virus (…) through the consumption of contaminated food (…). According to the current state of knowledge, a transmission via food is unlikely, according to a press release of the Consumer Advice Centre of Schleswig-Holstein dated 17 March 2020.

But in these unusual times, what was said yesterday may already be outdated today. That is why operators of canteens and company restaurants are playing it safe. Since many employees are home office workers, the number of canteen visitors has been reduced considerably anyway – so caterers want to give the others a feeling of security. Cutlery trays have been abolished in many places, main courses are now only served by canteen staff, salad bars are closed, salads, spices and dressings are only available packaged. Also self-service counters for breakfast or coffee breaks are no longer available in many canteens.

Packed lunch instead of salad buffet

The trend towards fewer disposable containers, which had also found its way into company restaurants, is being reversed in times of Corona. For guests who work in the office but are currently avoiding the communal lunch table, Henkel at its headquarters in Düsseldorf, for example, is now increasingly offering packed lunches as a substitute for the hot meal at lunchtime. Some canteen operators are already exploring the possibility of also delivering hot meals to the departments – in case company restaurants would have to close down completely.

Manufacturers of appropriate packaging solutions are benefiting from this development. For example, Ragaller Gastronomiebedarf GmbH in Langenweddingen (Saxony-Anhalt) is already reporting increased demand. And this demand could grow further: because the business with delivery services is currently booming everywhere. Large companies such as Lieferando or Domino’s have also been offering their customers contactless delivery for a few days now.

Many people who have stocked up on food because they want to avoid supermarkets for a while are likely to benefit from catering delivery services. After all, it is not every day that people feel like eating canned food. Even smaller restaurants or butchers, who have so far had little experience with delivery, could use this service to compensate for lost sales. In any case, local advertising newspapers are full of new delivery offers – for which the corresponding transport and packaging solutions are then also required.