Monday, April 8, 2024

When it comes to Drive Thru Food Packaging, less packaging is “better for you”.


While brand marketers love placing brand logos on buckets, boxes, cups and wraps.  Consumers have grown tired of the excessive packaging on Take Away food and view it as non-environmentally friendly according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Consider Papa Murphy’s Take-N-Bake pizza consumers rave on the simplicity of the package.  No Box, No Bucket and No logo on the packaging itself. 

Consumers often associate certain visual cues with health and sustainability. Food packaging for the drive thru should today focus more on visceral digital graphics promoting reusable bags and containers. Restaurateurs should be adding mobile messaging, order conformation, payment and voice access via smartphone or phone while in the drive thru to edify their relationship with Gen Z and Millennials.

Here are some design elements that can make food packaging look "better for you":

1.        Natural or earthy color palettes: Browns, greens, and beiges evoke a sense of nature and wholesome ingredients.

2.        Organic or recycled materials: Using cardboard, bamboo, or recycled plastic can subconsciously signal that the product is eco-friendly.

3.        Simple and clean design: Avoid clutter and overwhelming graphics. Let the product itself be the hero.Focus on whole ingredients: Images of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains communicate that the food is unprocessed and natural.

4.        Words that trigger positive associations: "Whole grain," "grass-fed," "free-range," "organic," "non-GMO," etc.

5.        Transparency: Consumers appreciate seeing what's inside. Consider clear windows or packaging that reveals the product.

Remember, the key is to be genuine. If the food isn't actually healthy or sustainable, these design elements will backfire.

It’s not just Gen Z and Millennials, less packaging for drive-thru food is important for a few reasons:

6.        Environmental Impact: Fast food generates a lot of waste, and a large portion of that is packaging. Reducing packaging means less material used, less energy consumed in production, and ultimately less ends up in landfills or polluting our oceans.

7.        Resource Conservation: Packaging materials like paper, plastic, and cardboard all require resources to create. Minimizing packaging reduces the demand for these resources, which can be beneficial for sustainability.

8.        Efficiency: Drive-thru’s are designed for speed. Excessive packaging can slow down the process of handing food to customers. Less packaging means a smoother flow and potentially shorter wait times.

9.        Cost: Packaging adds to the overall cost of the food. By using less, restaurants could potentially lower prices or offer more value to customers.

It's important to note that some packaging is necessary to ensure food safety and prevent spills during transport. However, there are ways to achieve this with minimal materials and explore more eco-friendly options like compostable containers.

Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday than tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

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