Monday, November 28, 2022

Catering to on-the-go sandwich sustainability

With over 3 billion sandwiches purchased from UK retail or catering outlets annually, and
part of British culture for over three centuries, our love of the humble and portable sarnie is
back. Derailed by the combination of Covid and Brexit, the reduction in office workers and
changes in working habits significantly influenced lunchtime purchasing decisions. Yet, for
coffee shops and cafes, Lumina Intelligence forecasts that this market will grow 14.4% to
£4.6bn in 2022.

Part of this growth can be attributed to coffee shop operators extending their drive-thru
businesses. The forecast for independents is even more reassuring. A growth of 25.3% in
2022, taking the value of this segment to £1.6bn.

However, with record increases in ingredient prices, coupled with widely reported labour
shortages, extending the freshness of sandwiches, salads, wraps and fresh grab-and-go
snacks and reducing preventable food waste has become even more imperative.

A subsidiary of Jenton International and celebrating 40 years of packaging innovation, Soken Engineering launches its fully-inclusive range of waste-reducing heat sealing packing systems at this year’s PPMA Total Show (Stand A50). Rather than hand-packing lunch items in takeaway cartons/boxes with press-on lids that can be prone to air leaks and fast-track spoiling, Soken’s 3-in-1 Soken Heat-Sealing System consistently achieves the perfect pack seal on the widest variety of lunch and snack products. Including baguettes, bagels, sushi, platters and other grab-and-go culinary lunchtime variations.

With only a simple tool change, artisan lunch and sandwich suppliers, including cafes, garden centres, healthcare and workplace catering facilities, and businesses supplying garage forecourts and drive-thrus now only need to invest in a single system to improve pack presentation, hygiene and preserve lunchtime foods by up to three days. Putting an end to preventable food waste and subsequent lost profits.

For small and independent cafes, the 3-in-1 Soken range comprises the level 1 machines that seal takeaway lunch items freshly made and packed individually to order. The level 2
machines – which seal up to four packs at the same time – are engineered for caterers
supplying mobile vans and local shops. For higher output suppliers, the level 3 intermediate
automated systems perfectly seal up to 48 packs per minute – making this machine ideal for medium-sized enterprises, such as airline caterers or large garden centre chains.

All Soken equipment is manufactured in the UK and backed by a two year return-to-base
warranty. Further improving the machines environmental and sustainability credentials.

As all tooling and parts are designed and manufactured in-house, spares can be provided
within very short time scales. It also means that caterers with unusual packaging
requirements can commission bespoke tooling.

For additional convenience, Soken can supply all associated consumables, including
sandwich packs, ready meal trays with lidding film, and salad boxes. Sustainable plastic-free packaging options are also in development.

Stephen Hawes, Soken Engineering sales manager, said: “Helping to reduce waste is a key
priority for food suppliers of all sizes. If catering outlets and vendors can extend the shelf life of on-the-go-foods by even a day using tamper evident heat sealed packaging, this makes a significant difference to food waste as well as operating profits.”

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