Paper products are some of the most common items within food services.
Here are just some of the many ways that food services use paper-based products.
Food services all make use of paper products in one way or another – directly or indirectly.
There are core service delivery functions like, cooking and food presentation, which typically incorporate paper in some way traditionally. But also business support functions like, hygiene services, also depend on paper products.
We have compiled, by category, some of the most common uses of paper products in food service operations for your perusal:
- Cooking And Preparation (smoking, baking etc.)
- Food Presentation
- Disposables, Tableware & Displays
The following is a breakdown of the aforementioned categories with simple examples for each.
There are many ways in which food services cook with paper. Functionally, the paper is appointed to particular purposes within the process of cooking, one diverse from another.
Wood smoking meats over a grill whilst wrapped within butcher paper is a highly recommended method of preparation under ideal BBQ conditions.
The idea here is that the paper acts as a porous membrane, which allows the meat wrapped inside to become overwhelmed with the savour of the smoke, without trapping in steam like when using foil.
This process allows chefs to achieve a rustic bark texture on the outer layer of brisket, yet maintaining moist underlayers of tender meat – smoked throughout, holding maximum flavour.
When baking, many food service operations will use paper for one of two functions. (1) non-stick surface to bake foods on, (2) a porous pouch for steaming.
Baking paper or parchment paper is the product of choice in such cases where an easy release action is required after cooking has taken place. Paper is simply placed on top of the baking tray and the food, for cooking, is laid on top of the paper. At the end of the cooking process, the food simply lifts off the baking paper with ease leaving no stuck on pieces behing – minimising mess and loss of portion.
In the case of steaming, Kraft paper is typically used to wrap the food in an enclosed parcel which acts as a trap for heat and for retention of some moisture, leaving meat more tender and without burns than if it had been baked or grilled openly.
Preparation of Burger Patties
Raw burger patties stacked in preparation for cooking are seperated effectively by interleaving each burger with what is commonly known as patty paper.
Patty paper is a thin, usually square sheet of thin translucent paper, sometimes made of silicone, which is used to keep the patties from merging together when stacked ready for frying.
The paper quality, like with all these examples should be prodcued to meet the food safety standards of the country or district within which the food service operates.
Conveying mission critical messages to customers within the service user experience is often performed via the vehicle of paper in food services. Whilst delivery of serviceis being conducted, a food establishment can employ the use of paper to communicate the values or heritage of the service team, enhance the selection of products or confirm the details pertaining to service.
Menus and Offers
Traditionally menus have been used to present the full range of food options available to the patron at the time of service. They are usually branded, and also are used to make known the underpinning principals and values of the people behind the service, which is what makes it special.
Menus will include pricing and any other relevant terms, conditions or ingredient based messages.
The format of the menu will wildly differ from one establishment to another – single face, bi-fold book, tri-fold brochure, or mainfold – to name a few designs. On occasion custom paper cutting is used to create impact and long lasting impression of the brand in the mind of the customer. Card is often the preferred thickness of paper menu for durability reasons. Many services will also laminate the card to extend the duration its use across many customer encounters.
Either before or after the meal, depending on format of service, it is customary that a provider will issue a receipt or bill stating all items consumed from the menu by guests and the resulting cost of service.
This bill is usually printed on thermal till roll and holds all of the relevant financial details inc. tax related treatments, like VAT. The bill can be branded and declaring the personal particulars, like name and staff ID number, identifying the service delivery personnel.
In the takeaway and street food markets, it is common for food to presented in or upon a paper-based product of sorts.
The most common examples are either a napkin (tissue), card cups, wrapper, card container or box (corrugated card).
Depending on the type of food and therefore how it is to be contained for consumption, either of the aforementioned paper products might be applicable. In a disposable fashion, customers are simply expected to hold the meal by hand, using the paper product as an aid, and after consumption to responsibly discard the product.
Disposables, Tableware & Displays
During the process of consumption, the customer will often have at their disposal one or more throw away items which they will use as a personal towelette for cleansing themselves, wiping down their table or avoiding their clothing becoming stained by spills.
Such disposables will courteously be offered by many establishment without ration and pre-emptively supplied upon serving food.
Two or three ply, tissue based napkins are sometimes accompanied by fabric wet wipes in a sachet, soaked in mild astrigent or cleaning solution for removing sticky food residues.
Card coasters are used in seated, drinks oriented hospitality services. These are at times supplied and sponsored by manufacturers of drinks or alternatively produced and branded by the establishment.
Again, disposables present another brand impression opportunity where food service organisations will often build upon saturating the user experience with custom touches.
How can you also make use of paper products for your food service?
Define the scope of where and what kind of paper products you are thinking of using.
Next, find some reliable suppliers with whom to speak with and order some sample products to view their handiwork up close. Assess all options of product before agreeing specification, quantities and pricing of paper products.
Following choosing your suppliers, a flexographic printer will be just the contact to pull off some of those impressive brand statements. Seek to be shown previous examples of their printing work and even the supply of a reference or two.
Ensure you know what graphics they require and what format (file type e.g. jpeg) they will need it presenting to them. Some flexoprinters will handle such graphic design requests at an additional price. Consider in advance though how you would handle digital design work yourself.
If further touches like embossing or custom shaping or cutting is required, a local custom die cut company will be your ideal provider.
Any thoughts or further advancements on the suggestions outlined in the article above?
Please feel free to comment below, sharing your contribution on the matter of paper products for the food industry.
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