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Environmental Protection & Preservation

New Bio-Plastic, Compostable Sushi Trays Give Sushi Chefs Sustainable Presentation Options

Excellent Packaging & Supply, an innovator and wholesale distributor of sustainable, biodegradable, and nature-based packaging for foodservice and other applications, has added Ingeo biopolymer-based sushi trays to its line of nature-based foodservice products. The new sushi packaging products look and perform just like the polystyrene-based black trays with clear lids that are typically used by sushi chefs at sushi bars, delicatessens, supermarkets, grocery stores, cafeterias, and restaurants. Better still, the new sushi trays and lids are also commercially compostable at municipal or managed compost facilities that accept Ingeo or polylactic acid (PLA) material.

"Sushi is one of the freshest and most natural prepared foods, so we’re pleased to offer sushi chefs nature-based packaging that complements the food they take so much care to prepare and present," said Allen King, president of Excellent Packaging & Supply. “It’s also important to know that, when they award contracts, many institutions such as university foodservice operations are requiring, or giving preference to, sushi purveyors that use bio-based packaging.”

Consumers of pre-packaged sushi are starting to demand more sustainable and greener packaging of the fresh prepared foods that they buy - and sushi trays are on the front row of many deli counters. The new PLA-based sushi trays, which ship with matching, clear lids, enable the sushi maker to differentiate his or her offerings from other sushi restaurants and sushi counters, and tap into the goodwill of environmentally savvy consumers looking for sustainably packaged grab-and-go food.

The Ingeo/PLA biopolymer-based sushi trays are made entirely from NatureWorks® Ingeo biopolymer - a PLA-based material that performs well when in contact with moist and sticky food. Ingeo biopolymer products offer a viable and better alternative to petroleum-resourced products that are typically used for food and beverage packaging. Excellent Packaging offers a wide range of foodservice solutions that feature Ingeo because it contains no petroleum, performs well and looks good, is versatile and safe for foods, and biodegrades quickly in managed compost facilities - enabling the composting of the entire waste stream from foodservice operations.

Increasingly, foodservice operations are mandating that suppliers serve food in compostable packaging. This is the case at UC Davis in California, where Ikoma Sushi recently expanded its roster of university customers, which now includes the University of New Mexico, the University of Reno, and the University of Utah. Thinn Thein, president of Ikoma Sushi, sees the move to nature-based packaging as the right thing to do: “We had been using traditional plastic sushi trays and it was hard to find compostable replacements. Excellent Packaging now provides us with packaging that meets my customers’ specifications. And, while it does cost more, we now feature our commitment to the environment in our on-campus marketing.”

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