6 Foodservice Safety Innovations

sneeze guard

The COVID-19 health crisis has businesses rethinking future operations. In convenience retailing, newly developed store design and operations-related strategies are more than likely in the works now.

This point was made clear during a late April webinar titled, The Global Convenience Store Focus: Shop Talk Live, sponsored by Insight Research, a U.K.-based international retail strategy business specializing in the retail convenience and fuel industry.

The session introduced several in-store design strategies offered by Joseph Bona, president of Bona Design Lab Inc., New York. His firm provides retail design consultation services serving multiple retail sectors, including convenience, mass market and drug channels.

Bona said he sees “a heightened attitude of food hygiene and awareness” occurring with consumers. But one nuanced question is whether this attitude will be sustained or disappear once pandemic-related fears fade.

Consumers have increasingly been demanding food transparency, and that demand will continue to intensify, said Bona. One area he expects to explode is people demanding to know from where their food originated from, in the spirit of traceability.

Bona spoke of several both fundamental and seismic shifts across both store design and operations. Would sinks installed in c-store selling areas be embraced by customers or turn them off? How about wall-mounted hand-sanitizer dispensers? Could retailers find a way to more holistically promote “contactless” customer engagement in the store, including using smartphones to activate a no-touch transaction? 

Others significant areas of consideration, according to Bona:

  • Retail drive-thru formats. In the name of safety and sanitation, Bona sees more consumers adapting to this route, and he imagines that retailers could convert smaller, spartan and commoditized drive-thru windows to create a more robust, branded experience, one that more replicates the store experience.
  • The future of self-serve condiment stations/coffee bars. Such stations, once brimming with packets of mayonnaise and ketchup, are largely out of commission. Will they become fully extinct or perhaps redesigned to offer greater sanitation? Bona wondered how the elimination of core components such as this would impact how in-store designers like himself establish future schemes.
  • Implementation of safety ambassadors. These safety leaders are becoming prevalent in the grocery channel at store entries; perhaps convenience stores are next? The concept, Bona said, would create so-called “ambassador stations” designed into store blueprints, with health and sanitation the key motivator. The stations would be tasked with wiping down carts and baskets—and engaging store clientele to let them know the equipment is safe to use. “How do you turn a negative [the pandemic] into a positive? You [as a retail business] are here to help people,” he said.

With food safety top of mind for most all consumers—not to mention eco-friendliness and sustainability—here’s a look at six foodservice-centric product rollouts that are winning with consumers.

Photograph: Shutterstock

POS Supply Solutions

labels

In expanding its thermal label line, POS Supply Solutions’ Tamper Proof Seal Labels provide a tamper-evident option that assures customer orders haven’t been opened during delivery transit. Designed for pizza boxes, sandwich wraps, kraft bags, plastic containers and more, Tamper Proof Seal Labels also allow operators to customize seal labels by adding logos, website URLs, promotions and more—all to maximize branding. Permanent adhesive and die-cut labels securely seal food containers with a “Sealed for Freshness” design, providing added quality control that discern if labels have been removed or repositioned. The company offers 2-inch round label and 1.875-inch-by-6-inch rectangular label.

Photograph courtesy of POS Supply Solutions

Eco-Products

containers

Eco-Products launched WorldView Naturals, a line of compostable takeout containers with 100% renewable and reclaimed sugarcane bases and RPET or Ingeo lids. The line comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, including round, square, rectangular and oval, and works equally well for hot or cold dishes. It also launched new compostable lids for its WorldView takeout line that are ideal for operators seeking environmentally preferable options.

Photograph courtesy of Eco-Products

Anchor Packaging

containers

Anchor Packaging added the new Fry Baby hinged container to its Crisp Food Technologies container line. Fry Baby containers integrate anti-fog capability in both the clear base and clear lid to keep food appearing fresh while on display. A 6-inch-by-3-inch size makes it ideal for serving French fries, chicken strips, nuggets, wings and other foods, according to the company. The packaging is consumer reusable and recyclable.

Photograph courtesy of Anchor Packaging

GP Pro

dispenser

With the dispensed cutlery market growing annually, GP Pro debuted the Dixie Ultra SmartStock Tri-Tower Cutlery Dispenser, a 3-in-1 cutlery station to help operators reduce waste and drive efficiency. Benefits, according to the company, include improved hygiene, reduced usage and waste, improved operational efficiency (dispenser holds 390 utensils) and maximized counter space, as dispenser requires minimal counter space while offering guests one-stop-access to spoons, forks and knives. The unit can be wall mounted and is currently available in polystyrene and polypropylene, with compostable cutlery available by summer 2020.

Photograph courtesy of GP Pro

Vollrath Co.

breath guard

Vollrath Co. introduced a collection of easy-to-use breath guards with its 6-Series Velocity Adjustable Breath Guards that use a push-button mechanism to raise and lower the moveable tempered glass panel. Velocity breath guards come with eight preset settings that ensure consistent spacing and appearance across units and serving lines for full-serve, self-serve and cleaning positions, the company said. “In the current health crisis breath guards have become high-visibility products,” says Brian Hedlund, Vollrath’s vice president of serving systems and components. “We expect that this heightened public perception will remain even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, and our customers will appreciate the convenience of having an easily adjustable option that doesn’t require a lot of handling.”

Photograph courtesy of Vollrath Co.

Waddington North America

containers

Blaze hot food containers from Waddington North America/Novolex simplify the process for operators’ take-out food programs, as the containers come in a variety of sizes and styles with hinged or two-piece options. A tear-away hinge allows for a less-cluttered dining experience, and the two-piece option offers a common lid that fits the various base sizes, the company said. All packaging can be recycled where facilities exist.

Photograph courtesy of Waddington North America