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Takeaway packaging

Takeaway packaging: what's the right choice for your business?

With frequently changing COVD regulations, many businesses are adapting and offering takeaway food and drink. This guide aims to help businesses when they purchase packaging.

We will outline the key health and safety issues to consider, as well as other factors which will impact your business such as cost, quality and sustainability concerns about single-use food and drink takeaway packaging.

Which container to use?

Before deciding which takeaway containers you will need to purchase, you need to establish a clear answer to these questions:

● Where will the food be eaten, at home or on the move?

● If delivering, how long will delivery take?

● What temperature will the food need to be stored at during delivery?

● What size will the container need to be?

● What type of food will they need to hold? - Is there sauce included with the dish?

● What is your budget?

Health and safety issues to consider:


All food must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that it does not become unsafe or unfit to eat. Food that needs refrigerating must be kept cool while being transported. This may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag. Equally, food that needs to be kept hot should be packed in an insulated bag.

There are a range of packaging options available which can be helpful if you do not have refrigerated vehicles. For example, Sorbafreeze offer blocks which not only keep your products cooler for longer while in transit but also come with a ‘no leak guarantee’

The high-tech reflective foil ensures the product arrives in pristine condition.

SORBA FREEZE BLOCKS, 400G, 268X1000MM, CS 2000, £185.50


Takeaway meals should be labelled clearly so customers know which dishes are suitable for those with an allergy. Food businesses should also identify and remove possible cross-contamination risks in the delivery process. This can be done through packaging meals securely and storing allergen-free meals separately in transit to avoid contamination through any spillages.

If an allergen-free meal has been ordered, it should be clear when delivered which container it is in. You can use stickers or a note on the container to label each meal.

Making sure you use labelling products which won’t be erased during transit is important. These Crayons, for example are suitable for marking on almost all surfaces including paper and plastic. They are waterproof and won’t bleed through paper.


The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that the likelihood of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is very low. The advice from the Government is that “while food packaging is not known to present a specific risk, efforts should be made to ensure it is cleaned and handled in line with usual food safety practices.”(Government Covid-19 guidance for food businesses)

Disposable takeaway packaging continues to offer a safe and hygienic way for many businesses to continue to offer food and drink to customers. Sustainability and litter management While budget and concerns about managing the risk of COVID-19 transmission have led many businesses to opt for single-use plastic takeaway packaging, this in turn has led to a huge increase in littering, with some local authorities struggling to manage the problem. As well as the damage to the local environment, this can also cause reputational issues with your customers. City to sea has some helpful guidance about takeaway packaging options which are available for both food to be eaten at home (cardboard with a thin coating so it can be cleaned for recycling) to food to be eaten on the go (Bagasse, soft paper style boxes). Compostable, biodegradable, vegware or PLA (polylactic acid) packaging are also considered to be sustainable options. Encouraging customers to bring their own reusable coffee cups is also an option.

Click here for a guide to reusable coffee cups:

Click here for a full guide to sustainable packaging from City to Sea:

You can also get more helpful advice on adapting your food business and the key regulations and checklists to help you get set up at the FSA’s new Here to Help guide:

As always our team can talk you through the takeaway packaging options which suit your needs in terms of quantity, budget and key features as well as stock availability and delivery times. Call us on 01726 74264 or at for advice relating to your specific needs.


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