The Takeaway Innovation Expo saw over 5,000 fast food establishments through the doors in Olympia, London. With many samples sent out and meetings underway, we look back at the event and some of the highlights from the Show.

This was Biopac's first year exhibiting at the Takeaway Expo, the UK's only trade show dedicated to the takeaway profession. This year also saw the launch of Street Food Live, a new event dedicated to the fastest growing sector in convenience catering.

The Show had so much to offer all fast food establishments from insightful seminars and interactive workshops to live cooking demos and over 100 exhibitors to give takeaway owners ideas to help run their businesses better.

We met some inspiring people during the show from exciting new start-ups, to ambitious entrepreneurs running a number of takeaway franchises looking to grow their portfolio even further.

There is a growing amount of interest in food on the move with takeaways and street food outlets facing increasing environmental challenges, including reducing packaging waste. It was refreshing to see so many interested in our range of eco-friendly catering disposables as an alternative to the non-sustainable disposable packaging currently used.

In June of this year, Oxfordshire City Council announced a proposal to ban polystyrene take-away food containers in Oxford to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Similar bans have already been imposed in US cities including Portland, Seattle and San Francisco. Polystyrene boxes do not degrade over time. Compostable alternatives such as Biopac's sugarcane boxes can fully compost in just 12 weeks so much kinder to the environment.

No Sweat!

The most popular product range at this years show was by far the sugarcane boxes.

Our compostable Sugarcane Boxes are perfectly suited to take-aways and fast food outlets serving hot food. We take a variety of renewable, natural plant fibres and mould them into our range of Sugarcane Boxes. An attractive attribute of these boxes is that they don't sweat, unlike the polystyrene alternative. As they are made from natural materials, the container absorbs the sweat leaving your food looking and tasting much nicer. The boxes provide good thermal qualities to ensure the food remains hot.

Sugarcane material is suitable for microwave and oven use and also freezable.

Click here to view our sugarcane boxes

A Krafty Alternative

If you're looking for something a bit different, our kraft hot food boxes are a modern alternative.

Made from a sustainable board coated with a fully compostable material to render them leak proof, these hot food boxes are 100% compostable which means they can be composted alongside the food waste associated with it. Often used to serve hot food such as curry, paella, rice and jacket potatoes, these boxes are available in white, kraft and black, in a variety of sizes from 800ml to 2400ml. They can be printed in up to 6 colours to increase the visibility of your brand.

Click here to view our kraft hot food boxes

Seminar: It Pays to Prove You're Green

Our Director hosted a seminar at the Takeaway Expo – It Pays To Prove You're Green – giving people the opportunity to learn how putting the environment at the heart of your operation is a recipe for success.

The seminar, which was well attended, demonstrated how more traders in this sector are switching to sustainable eco packaging. Many global events are now promoting the use of compostable packaging as a sustainable and environment friendly alternative to traditional packaging used. Examples of implementation include Sydney Olympics (2000), Salt Lake City Winter Olympics (2002), Turin Winter Olympics (2006), Beijing Olympics (2008), and more recently in London the 2012 Olympics. Even smaller scale events such as the Glastonbury Festival recognise the impact their event has on the environment and are imposing all cups and plates used by traders are made from a compostable material.

The fact most surprising to those who attended the seminar was that recycling may not be the answer. The example John gave was cardboard, and more specifically for pizza boxes.

Pizza boxes are made from corrugated cardboard, however the cardboard becomes soiled with grease, cheese, and other foods once the pizza has been placed in the box. Once soiled, the cardboard cannot be recycled because the paper fibres will not be able to be separated from the oils during the pulping process. Food is a major source of contamination in various paper categories. Composting offers a viable alternative disposal route.

Click here to view our compostable pizza boxes

Biopac presented survey results (Madano, 2014) which showed people react positively towards companies that use sustainable packaging and would consider switching to a comparable brand that offered a more sustainable option.

Experts say sustainability is no longer a trend. It's a pillar of contemporary design and an expectation of today's consumers and businesses. The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is working with over 2,000 restaurants to help them become more sustainable. This number is rapidly increasing as more restaurants are seeing the benefits of having these green credentials.

As oil prices continue to rise pushing up plastic packaging prices, biodegradable and sustainable alternatives are rapidly increasing and these products have become more affordable. It costs less than you think to give your customers the green packaging they now expect. Now is the time to act to give your brand a point of difference.

Thank you to everyone who visited our stand at Takeaway Expo. We hope you found the show insightful and came away with lots of exciting new ideas for your business. All our products are available to buy online. Should you wish to have your logo printed, we can brand all of our packaging with your design. For smaller quantities we can print self-adhesive labels for you to apply to your products or we can produce a rubber stamp so you can stamp your logo on to the packaging. Please call us on 01386 555 777 or email for more information.