There is no denying that the foodservice industry is undergoing dramatic changes when it comes to disposable single-use plastics. With an increasing number of eco-conscious consumers and plastic ban regulations hitting the market, brands are being forced to switch to "sustainable" and renewable alternatives to traditional plastics - largely around straws for now.
The go-to solution for many foodservice providers across the country has been paper - a costly, temporary solution at the expense of convenience and necessity. It is no secret that the majority of customers are not fans of the sogginess and taste-altering properties paper straws provide, despite their environmental benefits. It is especially no secret that brand providers offering paper are not fans either due to customers often taking multiple straws for drinks to replace the soggy ones, further increasing AUV burn rates and costs.
The good news is, you're not alone. Many brands continue to meddle with the headache of juggling adequate solutions to plastic and jumping through regulatory hurdles of plastic bans. At Celise, we focus on helping brands optimize their alternative plastic offerings, track plastic ban ordinances, and provide quality, renewable disposables that won't sog in your customers' drinks. Below, we'll walk through three areas where Celise specializes in working with large brands: products, integration, and operational efficiency.
Optimizing Your Single-Use Plastic Alternatives (in terms of cost, quality, and brand)
Brands today are being pressured to act more responsibly and be held accountable when it comes to single-use plastic waste. The starting point in many municipalities, and a bare minimum in the eyes of consumers that brands can do, has been to ban plastic straws. This forces locations in effected areas to consult their distributor for alternatives, which are often paper recommendations. PLA has been a popular choice as well in areas allowed due to its compostable nature, renewable inputs, and costing half as much as paper.
With the temporary switch comes cost increases, poorer user experiences, and loss of brand identity that once was free advertising. At Celise, we offer:
PLA: a commercial compostable bioplastic made from plant resources and ASTM D6400 compliant material. They are of higher quality and lower cost than paper, but not available in compliance with all plastic bans. At Celise, we can offer full-spec customizations to our straws to take back the brand label and unity, with free custom printing on our wrappers, exact straw sizes, and color matching made with biodegradable bean dye ink. All for under $0.015 per straw.
PHA: a marine and soil biodegradable biomaterial that mimics plastic usability, but is derived from fermented microorganism proteins. Our straws biodegrade in approximately 90 days. These are great in areas where PLA is not allowed, and are also available for complete white labeling to your brand. The costs rival paper, if not a bit more affordable, and are exponentially better in quality.
4-PLY Industrial Paper: In the few select municipalities across the US that do not allow PHA yet. we can offer the next generation of paper straws that are capable of handling thick drinks, such as smoothies and milkshakes with ease before falling apart in 25-30 minutes. These straws are more expensive that PLA, but are on par with PHA.
When we begin talking with brands, we ask what your goals are for products and the overall scope of what you are looking for. We take regions, regulations, eco-activism, and costs all into consideration on your behalf. For example, we supply PLA straws in D.C., N.Y.C., and in areas where plastic is still used (but not banned) for a national franchise partner, with PHA straws in use in areas where PLA is not allowed in select cities in Florida.
In correlation with your own agenda, we make recommendations on which product material to use in which locations to average out costs to be as low as possible while maintaining the quality and brand unity of the products (custom jobs are free with us). This includes talking with your existing distribution partners and their DCs closest to clusters of locations in regulated or eco-active areas to further decrease costs with bulk freight. Which leads us to the next step: Integration.
Seamless Supply Chain Integration with DCs to Maintain Existing Operations
When your brand decides on which material(s) to use in which regions, if more than one, we will reach out to your distribution partner(s) directly in correlation with your personal representative from your distributor to get the new item set up in existing DCs. This is to maintain your existing supply chain operations and reduce the hassle of adding a new item on your behalf - we will take care of the new item setup with the DC. Celise makes it easy to seamlessly phase out plastic or existing options with your new item(s) in their place. These can be either custom or standard, whatever your brand decides, and we can open or close source them for your brand.
For an overview, here are typical steps we walk through together:
Brand decides on item(s), quantities, and locations for adoption
Celise confirms designs, if not standard product offerings, and quantities/locations
Celise coordinates new item set up with your existing distribution partner
We'll confirm when new items are ready for purchasing to include on next POs
This is generic, and there are other steps - but the essential flow is clear. In the first step, we'll provide recommendations and strategies for optimizing material costs, but you (the customer) will ultimately control what items you want in which locations. We will take on as much work as you want us to, including RFP drafts, AUV burn rates in which regions, and recommended courses of action - again, by request. Now, we'll arrive at step three: Operational Efficiency.
AUV Reduction Methods While Maintaining Sales Traffic Volume
When your brand makes the switch from traditional plastic to any sustainable material, you will see an increase in costs for that item across the board. Despite foodservice straw costs generally averaging below 1% of total operational costs, it can still be a significant increase in the disposable department for some, and is still becoming mandatory with bans.
As our customer, we want to help your brand be a better environmental steward, and we can do this with minimal effort to you that will provide long-term benefits for your brand. We'll help in-store locations decrease AUV burn rates by offering straws on request only with table signage. By reducing straw AUV, you'll simultaneously reduce your overall waste consumption, spread cost per case over a longer period of time, and contribute to corporate ESGs (our products are carbon neutral, too!).
Little, almost unnoticeable changes, can have a huge impact - especially with eco-conscious customers. Switching away from plastic, using renewable resources, and reducing your AUV provides benefits far beyond the supply chain. It contributes to the well-being of our planet tenfold, and keeps brands in positive consumer spotlights.
Contact us today to start the conversation on making the seamless sustainable switch for your brand, and how Celise can help maximize the value of your returns. We're no stranger when it comes to navigating the sustainable landscape regarding plastic single-use plastics. See how we can work together today -
(813) 702 - 0238