Trend or Pho: 2018 Food Trends To-Go!

Rachael Sawtell, marketing director at leading labelling and eco food packaging provider Planglow, casts her food to-go predictions for the year to come

Free-from, vegan, vegetarian and other dietary options are all on the rise, not only amongst the food to-go sector, but across home dining and out of home sectors. We’ve seen noodle concepts go from strength to strength, from spicy Vietnamese pho to umami-centric Japanese ramen. In fact Japanese offerings in general represent are a wider developing trend and, although pho remains popular, it’s starting to plateau while the rise of ramen is unabated. Likewise Korean and Caribbean concepts remain on the up while Indian cuisine, which had gone a little stale, has been reimagined with a street food twist. Similarly, both comfort and ‘dude’ foods had fallen from grace but are now tackling the high sugar, high salt, high fat backlash with healthier often vegan alternatives – typically with North American, Japanese, Korean or Caribbean flavours.

For food providers looking to develop a new concept, the authenticity of the cuisine on offer - as well as the diners experience in general - becomes all the more essential. The food being served should tell a story, say something about the provider and their brand. You don’t have to be Thai to serve Pad Thai noodles, but customers will buy into a concept more if it’s presented as an opportunity to ‘travel during a lunchbreak’ or with an emphasis on the quality of ingredients used.

From November 2016 to October 2017, we saw sales of our eco packaging products increase by a fifth (20.76%) when compared to the previous 12 months. Likewise label sales have risen too, by 5.7% with custom designed labelling growing nearly three times that (16.5%) of our stock label products as more and more providers opt for bespoke labelling to brand their offering. The most significant increase however, has been amongst packaging products for hot goods, sales of which grew more than a third (36%) as the grab and go market further diversified into hot food offerings.

To support the ever changing grab and go market, Planglow has developed a number of versatile packaging items that allow providers to create a full to-go offering without having to buy or store large volumes of products. For example, our grease resistant deli papers may be used to wrap sandwiches, burgers and baked goods as well as to line trays or as an additional presentational element. These are some of our most popular products – in the past 12 months alone we have sold more than 2.3million sheets of our best-selling Gastro branded deli paper. Our fully compostable windowed multi bags are another immensely popular item, sales for the Gastro branded bags reached 4.3million over the past year. Our fully compostable bio pots are another popular multi-purpose product, suitable for noodle offerings, pasta dishes, soups, stews, curries, deli items – such as olives – and desserts, our pots are available with fully compostable bio lids too. Meanwhile we’ve recently added five new compostable products to our multi-award winning Street Food range: a takeaway tray (for fish and chips, paella, pie and mash etc.) two sizes of noodle box style cartons (barbecue, curries, jacket potatoes, noodles, pasta, and more), a recycled napkin and dispenser kit and a smaller burger sized Street Box which is little brother to our award winning larger pack and was developed to package a wide variety of hot takeway products. The Street Food range also includes a deli paper and chip cone which may be paired with dressed pasta, noodles, falafel and other fried bites. It’s worth noting, while originally intended for sandwiches, our bloomer boxes have seen a 20% increase in sales over the past year – these square cut (as opposed to wedge shaped) packs are being used with cakes, scones and other baked goods, large wraps and even sushi, as well as sandwiches.

For providers wishing to highlight free-from and other dietary requirements, we offer Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Contains Nuts and Healthy Choice Stickers, while our labelling app (LabelLogic Live) and software (LabelLogic) both automatically bold allergens within your product ingredients list. Likewise our Highlight Label has been developed specifically to highlight allergen and other dietary information on pack. The kraft 50-per sheet label may be overprinted with any combination of allergen / dietary symbols - from Halal to Organic or even ‘1 of your 5 a day’.

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