Innovative Packaging Withstands Rigors of Automation and Distribution

HAVI helped a quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain to design packaging distinguishable from competitors and capable of withstanding production stages and extreme temperatures. HAVI designed an innovative solution by combining CPG technology and QSR functionality to showcase the quality and bakery fresh appearance of the product.

CASE STUDY FOCUS: PACKAGING DESIGN

Innovative Packaging Withstands Rigors of Automation and Distribution

Innovative clamshell packaging applies consumer packaged goods (CPG) concepts in a quick service restaurant (QSR) market application and helps differentiate a menu item from other category packaging by showcasing the quality and bakery fresh appearance of the product.

 

Challenge

In a typical QSR operation, a clamshell is filled at the point of purchase when a customer places an order. HAVI, a global leader in packaging, supply chain services, marketing and supply chain analytics, merchandising planning and promotions management, and waste, recycling and sustainability, with deep expertise in the foodservice markets, was challenged to design a QSR style paperboard clamshell with standardized specifications that would work across varying production facilities and companies, regardless of differences in their production equipment and line setups, to provide a pre-packaged commercialized bakery product to a QSR chain’s restaurants.

The packaging would need to withstand the rigors of production and distribution, including stacking, shipping and storage, as well as extreme variances in temperature. The QSR chain would later request that the clamshell include a window that would differentiate the packaged product from others in its category by showcasing its quality and bakery fresh appearance.

 

Solution

HAVI designed a package that combines CPG technology and processes with QSR functionality and appearance.

The packaging team designed a solid bleached sulfate (SBS) paperboard clamshell that can operate on automated filling and packing lines at multiple bakeries. The food product is cooked directly on a bake-able tray then packaged with the tray in the clamshell. The packaging is able to withstand freezing, storing and distribution across the United States as well as storage, thawing and reheating at restaurants before it is ultimately served to consumers. The clamshell locking design fosters easy closing at the bakery and easy opening and re-closing for the consumer.

When the QSR chain asked for a window in the clamshell, HAVI added a “waterfall” window that extends over the top front corner of the clamshell lid. The presentation is similar to packaged baked goods in grocery and mass retail stores except that waterfall windows in those environments typically “fall” over the back of the clamshells where the geometry of the packaging provides enough strength so that the structural integrity of the package is not jeopardized. HAVI, in collaboration with its lead supplier on the project, designed the clamshell to support a front-facing waterfall window even as it maintained its structural integrity in the automated bakery production environment. Not only was this an engineering feat, the design helped differentiate the product from other QSR category packaging by showcasing its quality and bakery fresh appearance. Further, the window improved order accuracy for both the restaurant crew and the consumer.

The innovative clamshell also helped the QSR chain save money. Pre-packing the product at its offsite bakeries allowed for efficiency gains within restaurants, decreased handling of product and improved service times for restaurant crews. Crews had more time to service additional customers and ensure quality products were being delivered. In a typical QSR operation, the product would be made in the restaurant at ambient temperature and refrigerated until a customer ordered the product. At the end of the day, any unused product would be disposed of, generating waste for the restaurants and adding cost.

Because the product was made offsite and frozen, it could be stored for a longer period of time. This extension in hold time allowed for improvements in waste reduction at restaurants. Use of the windowed clamshell to enhance the product image also helped to drive sales and increase revenue for the restaurants.

 

Benefits

  • Innovative design – HAVI engineered packaging typically not intended to be durable or used on an automated packing line and made it work with multiple manufacturing steps at multiple bakeries to commercialize a standardized packaging specification across a QSR chain’s entire system.
  • Cost savings – By designing a clamshell that allows for pre- packaging of the product, HAVI helped the QSR chain gain efficiencies in its restaurants, decrease product handling and increase service times. Because the packaging team was able to consolidate the different bakeries’ spend, it could offer lower pricing for the clamshells and bake-able tray.
  • Waste reduction – The pre-made frozen product could be stored for a longer period of time than a product made fresh in the restaurant and refrigerated pending customer order. This helped eliminate product waste since any unused fresh product would have been discarded at the end of the day.