November’s FSM Awards may have been the seventh, but that doesn’t meant we have stopped, well, innovating. In order to celebrate the most cutting-edge companies in foodervice, at last year’s event we introduced the Supplier Innovation Award. Six creative companies made the shortlist, with a 30-second video they had prepared being shown on the night. The attendees then voted live there and then in order to pick the winner.
From the extremely impressive shortlist, packing specialist Planglow emerged victorious with its plant-based, fully compostable Street Food range, which originally launched as a three-piece collection back in 2015. Developed to package hot street food-inspired dishes, it included a hot food box as well as a versatile grease resistant deli paper sheet and sticker, making it suitable for a diverse range of offerings.
So what makes it so innovative? “The Street Boxes, cartons and tray are all made from a special leak and seep proof sturdy board, which has been specifically designed to handle grease- and sauce-laden foods while remaining fully compostable,” explains marketing director Rachael Sawtell. “The range features a unique distressed world map design and passport stamp print too, making it suitable for a wide variety of foods and from all around the world. The packs also carry eco messaging that explains that they are made from fully compostable plant-based materials.”
Of particular interest is the Chip Cone, which showcases a robust and versatile flat packed design. Users simply squeeze the sides to form then pop the top to reveal the ingenious built-in ‘beak’ for sauce. It is suitable for dressed pasta and noodles, fried bites such as churros or falafels, crepes, wraps, kebabs or chips. And features such as this have certainly proved popular, as Sawtell says: “The collection, like the street food market itself, has gone from strength-to-strength – we’ve sold over a million street boxes to date. Our products support the increasingly diverse menu choices now on offer while allowing consumers to enjoy these foods in wide variety of settings.”
Sawtell says that they decided to enter the product as it is especially well suited to those working in contract catering. “While maintaining a strong core offering is essential, B&I operators should look to stay ahead of the curve with some on-trend options too,” she says. “Introducing a street food-inspired element will help to keep their wider offering fresh. Providers may want to trial a few different dishes on a theme day and then integrate the ones that are most successful into the regular menus.”
Despite this, she admits to being shocked when their name was read out on the night. “We didn’t expect to win,” she says modestly, “especially after we saw the huge brands we were up against. “In fact, when we were announced as the winner, we didn’t quite believe it and thought we’d misheard. It took a few moments to sink in!”
Once it did, though, it proved to be the icing on the cake of a great evening, as Sawtell says: “It was such an enjoyable night! There was a great atmosphere and it was a really good opportunity to catch up with some of our customers and industry peers.”