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Corrugated trays are true to form for fish and chips

A rapidly growing number of the UK’s 10,500 fish and chip shops are opting for higher quality and sustainable corrugated takeaway containers as their primary choice of packaging to meet the demands of today’s modern lifestyles.

The alternative takeaway packaging being spearheaded by the Corrugated Industry is new fish and chip trays, which have already been a hit with customers after the Chesterford Group, one of the UK’s largest independent chains of fish and chip shops, decided to use corrugated trays as an alternative to polystyrene.

Micro flute corrugated board trays designed for takeaway meals are made from 100% recycled and recyclable material, boasting a special coating that drains oil from fried food. They also benefit from a high specification printing capability that cannot be replicated on polystyrene.

Corrugated’s innovative new development for hot food on the go followed a request by Friars Pride, the UK’s leading fish and chips wholesale company, to find a solution to fulfil Chesterford’s demanding brief for a specific formed tray that met strict environmental and branding requirements.

Friars Pride’s Managing Director, Rebecca Lord, said: “There is no doubt that corrugated boxes offer better presentation through on-pack branding, portion control and a more robust structure, which offers vast improvements to the way in which takeaway fish and chips are served both from a retailer and consumer perspective. The benefits of the trays are directly responsible for the increasing market share of corrugated packaging within the industry.”

Current estimates indicate that of the 200 million portions of fish and chips sold through the takeaway trade each year at least a quarter are served up in corrugated boxes. It was the preferred packaging format by 90% of the finalists in the Annual National Fish & Chip awards.

Whilst a customised flexo-printed two-compartment corrugated box might cost more than its polystyrene counterpart, it’s an investment that offers chippies a significant payback in terms of performance and appearance, according to the Confederation of Paper Industries’ (CPI) Director of Packaging Affairs Andy Barnetson.

He said: “It’s an uplift that has a negligible impact upon the total cost of a portion of fish and chips; well-worth paying if it’s securing ongoing custom. In ticking all the boxes corrugated perfectly complements the emphasis the sector places upon providing a very crisp and clean looking box, incorporating a high standard of print quality that can be personalised to the customer.

“There are also logistical and handling benefits to the supplier of being flat-packed, and to the takeaway outlet in being able to optimise use of space in what can be limited storeroom facilities. In five years’ time, I believe the adoption of corrugated boxes could be approaching 40% of the total UK market.”

The Corrugated Industry has introduced a range of packaging solutions for hot food, specifically designed for takeaways, combining innovative design with fine fluting to make the product easier to handle and consume.

Bespoke, recyclable corrugated board trays are becoming a firm favourite for takeaway food and it would be short-sighted of anyone opening a fish and chip shop were they to opt for just wrapping the product in a polystyrene tray.

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