It’s no secret that we’re a nation of curry lovers. The extensive menus of Indian restaurants offer something for everyone, from mild kormas to spicy vindaloos, and curry is a consistent pick for family takeout nights across the country.
In fact, according to a Just Eat survey in 2022, Indian food takeaway is the second top-rated cuisine in the UK (second only to Italian, but who can compete with pizza?).
Over 12,000 Indian restaurants serve the nation each week, using a huge amount of hot food containers. This poses an important question for businesses and consumers: What is the best packaging for Indian food?
Getting Started with Indian Food Packaging
Indian food is traditionally highly sustainable. The culture focuses on eating locally grown, seasonal produce and using available resources to ensure waste is kept to a minimum. Innovative practices are used, such as sun drying and storing food in salt, sugar, lemon solution, or oil to store perishables and keep them safe for consumption all year round.
On top of all this, Indian communities are highly proactive with recycling and using leftover food, whether that’s using leftovers for another meal or upcycling it into different products.
With this in mind, it’s only natural that Indian takeaway food packaging should be as eco-friendly as possible and follow in the same footsteps.
Challenges in Packaging for Indian Food
Whether settling down to enjoy a tikka masala in front of the TV for a night of must-see viewing or enjoying street food samosas while out on the town, the packaging that holds these feasts of flavours needs to be up to the task.
Several things make a successful Indian food packaging experience — all of which require innovative solutions:
1. Heat Retention
This is potentially one of the biggest challenges when packaging up takeaway Indian food. Many dishes are best enjoyed hot, allowing the complex flavours and textures to be experienced in their entirety.
2. Preventing Leaks
There’s nothing worse than getting your takeaway curry and discovering that half of the contents have leaked to the exterior paper bag or food carrier. Not only does this result in a lot of mess, but there’s also a lot of product waste.
3. Visual Appeal
Many curry packaging options are plain, opting for plastic containers or tin foil, leaving limited room for personalisation or presentation. At Takeaway Packaging, we believe what’s on the outside should reflect the inside. Your customers should be excited to dig in before they’ve popped the lid.
With sustainable solutions becoming more commonplace, the environmental impact of Indian food packaging is a crucial consideration.
5. Future-proofing and Scalability
Legislation is cracking down on single-use plastic, meaning that plant-based packaging alternatives are the future. By switching to biodegradable and fully recyclable options now, you’ll be getting ahead of the curve while also taking steps to protect the environment at the same time.
Is Aluminium Foil Good for Curry Packaging?
Aluminium foil containers are one of the most popular options for Indian food packaging. This is because they’re highly effective at retaining heat as they form an excellent barrier to outside air. They start losing heat between 30-40 minutes, but this is around the average delivery time for companies such as Just Eat and Deliveroo.
Theoretically, aluminium should be a sustainable solution since the material can be endlessly recycled. It doesn’t degrade through the recycling loop, and around 75% of all aluminium ever made is still somewhere in the world.
So what’s the problem?
For one, aluminium takes a lot of electricity to make. It’s created by applying mechanical air pressure to force foil into shape using the die and cavity method. There’s lots of energy required, and as a result, it can be quite expensive to buy.
The other issue is that people often don’t dispose of it properly. Around 22% of UK adults do not recycle aluminium, which is a sizable amount unnecessarily ending up in landfill. While some people are simply popping it into the bin as they don’t know it should be recycled, certain local authorities still don’t accept aluminium in their recycling schemes.
In instances where it is recycled, often it’s not washed properly, and food debris is still present, which can contaminate other recyclables.
As aluminium isn’t a biodegradable material, more sustainable solutions are needed to make it easier for businesses and consumers to dispose of waste in an eco-friendly manner.
Sustainable Packaging Solutions for Indian Food
Since aluminium foil has plenty of issues that need to be addressed, you’ll likely be wondering if any more suitable, sustainable packaging solutions are available.
You’ll be delighted to know that your eco-friendly packaging experts are here to save the day. We’ve got plenty of options for leak-free curry packaging that’ll keep food piping hot until it’s time to dig in:
Our selection of eco bowls and lids is an excellent choice for transporting curry. Boasting Ingeo™ PLA linings that are biodegradable, these bowls are leak-proof, and the added lids mean that they can be easily popped into a food carrier. Fully compostable, recyclable and biodegradable, your customers will have plenty of ways to dispose of your packaging responsibly.
Bagasse is made from sugar cane residue, which is an excellent renewable resource. Available in various shapes and sizes, including square (perfect for rice) and oval (great for curries), these are a fantastic sustainable alternative to plastic and tin foil.
If you’re after reliable packaging to hold curries with no risk of leakage, our Bagasse anti-leak containers are just what you need. The natural sugarcane fibre pulp base and innovative anti-leak lids are similar in performance to plastic due to their rigidity and excellent closing performance.
Want proof that your curries are in safe hands? Check out the leak test.
Although made from plastic, Fastpac reusable containers can be used time and time again. Made from 30% organically sourced mineral talc, the containers can be 100% recycled at the end of their life, but since they’re dishwasher and microwave-safe, there will be a lot of use in them first!
Packaging Best Practices for Indian Takeaway Packaging
It can be challenging for Indian restaurant owners to find a safe and reliable solution for their packaging while staying true to cultural beliefs of sustainability. On top of all this, the important points of functionality and affordability should also be considered.
Here are a few best practices for packaging to think about:
Indian food encompasses a wide variety of dishes. Curries will require different packaging to rice and samosas, so you’ll need to consider quantities, sizes and shapes and how it will work with every food item you offer.
With so many types of food packaging available, it’s essential to get the right fit for the food you offer. You’ll likely sell lots of different kinds of curries, sundries and appetisers, so you’ll need a variety of packaging to provide customers with a memorable experience.
We offer a wide range of takeaway packaging that’s cost-effective, highly versatile and can be used with hot and cold foods. Our eco-friendly deli bowls are perfect for fresh salads and chutneys, while our Kraft food packaging is excellent for samosas and onion bhajis.
Ensure you’re picking the right materials that align with your sustainability goals. If you’re trying to appeal to more eco-conscious customers, biodegradable, compostable and recyclable options are all fantastic options.
Where it may be difficult to change materials, especially considering tin foil has been used successfully for a long time, sustainable doesn’t mean non-functional. Our offering of hot food containers is incredible at retaining heat, preventing leaks and can even make your food look more visually appealing. What’s there to lose?
Once customers have enjoyed their takeaway, food waste should always be disposed of responsibly. By opting for biodegradable, compostable or recyclable packaging, you’ll be giving them a helping hand to be more environmentally conscious while reducing your business’s carbon footprint.
Order Your Indian Food Packaging with Takeaway Packaging!
At Takeaway Packaging, we’re experts in helping food service businesses — including Indian restaurant owners — find packaging that complements their culinary creations and meets their sustainability goals. We’re proud to offer innovative packaging solutions that help improve our world, one curry at a time.
Get a FREE quote for branded packaging from our team today. Let us bring your brand to life while finding the best packaging for your curries!