Gaurav Jalan, Founder, Packman Packaging

Mr. Gaurav Jalan is the Founder and Director of Packman Packaging, one of the largest Indian packaging companies that have been serving some of the world’s eminent technology, pharmaceutical, retail, fast-moving consumer goods, food, courier, publication, Jewellery, fashion, e-commerce organizations for the past 30 years. A brilliant academic, a good graphic designer, and a graduate from India’s top management institutes, Mr. Jalan is a visionary businessman and an eminent spokesperson on matters related to the Indian Packaging industry.


Takeaway packaging for any eating outlet or restaurant across the world requires special attention as each brand is trying to transport the same experience of the eating joint or restaurant in a box. 

Nowadays, the concept of cloud kitchens has also been flourishing in India which has also boosted the demand for quality packaging for food delivery. The main challenge of having this model is the restaurant or the eating joint has to create the brand without any physical store which provides interesting opportunities for packaging to innovate. Besides those, COVID-19 has been sort of a blessing in disguise for the cloud kitchen-based food-tech industry. Since people stopped or were reduced to go and eat outside, this gave a boom to the businesses such as Swiggy or Zomato.

The profitability of cloud kitchen heavily depends on the efficiency of making and packaging the food in minimal time for each order as the average order quantity usually, ranges from 300 to 400 each day. Perhaps even more than that at times. The packaging has to suit the fast-paced kitchen style and have inbuilt features to handle the nitty-gritty of the complete supply chain that is from warehouse to kitchens to the end consumer.

Extra Hurdles to Think about in Developing Packaging for Cloud Kitchen

A cloud kitchen is a delivery-majorly restaurant having no dine-in facility. Since the primary source of order-taking is through the web, or cloud as one calls it, there is no physical storefront for the consumers. Packaging becomes the primary and the most critical touchpoint of branding for any restaurant or eating joint to convey its message to consumers.

The oddity is going as several restaurants on Swiggy or Zomato are cloud kitchens. Buyers are heavily dependent on the rating and feedback posted on the apps. Generation of packaging should be >= 30 seconds as average each day order would be a minimum of 300 to 400 As several kitchens are working under the same premise. The inventory of packaging must be lean and have modularity and durability to scale up with various food items. 

The base of Creating the Packaging

The primary part while creating the packaging is to understand the conditions and circumstances or scenarios of every stop in the supply chain where the packaging will go through. 

One needs to be aware of setting realistic goals. It is not improbable to achieve the perfect packaging but it always comes with the factors of added expenses one needs to be mindful the business model is to serve single-use packaging.

Delve on these following ideas: There are several areas to understand and consider while opting or designing the packaging.

Product: We have to understand what product/food item is supposed to be packed. There could be single or several items getting packed together. To carefully check the consistency, shape, and physical properties of the individual item so that an ideal packaging can be designed.

Consistency: To fully, understand the viscosity of the food product. The product might be dry, partial-dry, or gravy. Opting for the correct packaging material to suit the type of food.

Shape: To create packaging considering the shape and size of the food product. For instance, pizza could have several shapes such as circular, rectangular, or a slice.

Physical Components: To direct the physical aspects of the food products. In the case of pizza, a pizza stool is kept on the hottest and softest part to prevent any sort of movement and keep pizza intact inside the packaging.

Kitchen: As discussed previously cloud kitchens have very fast-paced dynamics. One needs to make packaging that is quite intuitive, could be pre-made for faster transfer of hot food, and must nest or be in the collapsible situation in storage.

On job staff: The working conditions could be stressful because of the multiple orders at the same time, so the packaging ought to be quite intuitive and in pre-made condition. The packaging must have a minimal SOP to avert any confusion for the smooth functioning of the kitchen.

Space Restriction: There is less or restricted space and less storage space for packaging. Packaging needs to be collapsible or have nesting features to take lesser space.

Filling line: Each food product needs proper storage conditions. Packaging must accommodate both hot and cold food items. For instance: Pulao is served hot but raita is pre-packed and stored inside the refrigerator. Packaging has to maintain both the temperatures well so that raita does not taste sour or odd.

Customer Expectations: All the work to attract the customer and give a perfect meal for them to remember by the brand. The customer usually hopes for the same dine-in experience in the takeaway packaging but one needs to be realistic that hot and warm food served fresh will always have a better experience than online ordered food. Food packaging designers can handle this by understanding customers’ emotional and functional expectations from packaging.

Emotional touchpoints: Branding and complete branding must assist consumers to attach immediately to the brand. The packaging has to be in a presentable and appealing layout that keeps food products intact. Lending little interacting features for buyers to bond over the meal. 

Functional touchpoints: The packaging ought to be sturdy, spill-proof, temperature resistant, food safety and hygiene, simple to dispose of, simple to open, and hassle-free to restore, and eco-friendly.

Supply Mode: Usually, road conditions in India are not that up to the mark. There are plenty of potholes and bumps that packaging has to survive. There have been several concerns linked to food packaging mishandling by delivery guys. This is the toughest task to crack as all the experience depends upon how secure is your packaging while it is in transit.

Delivery Bags: Generally, an insulated delivery bag is provided which keeps the packaging perfect at one place but mostly because the bags take so much space on a two-wheeler, delivery guys opt to carry a rucksack while delivering. These bags do not have that space thus, delivery guys keep packaging vertical which could result in distortion of food items.

Road conditions: Due to the bumps and potholes optimal headspace assists in averting food items stick on the lid of the packaging.

Most of the factors are the same as any food delivery packaging. But some of the critical points are quite certain to cloud kitchen scenarios. While creating keep recircling on giving the most functional yet economical choice as it is a single-use packaging. One must also keep the will to select/provide the most sustainable options.

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