Our Take

Musings on the Foodservice Industry

For Compostable Presentation, Brown Outshines White

Compostable containers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. The two most common colors are brown and white.

At Bridge Gate, we believe that a natural or brown color is the best choice for the environment and for foodservice presentation. The truth is all compostable containers have some amount of color. The type of base material – sugar, potato starch or wheat – will determine the amount of color along a scale from light tan to brown. Many companies add bleach or peroxide to inhibit color and lighten the final product. For those foodservice operators that truly care about the environment, adding these caustic chemicals defeats the purpose.

In addition, many of the “bleachers” add these chemicals to cover up color inconsistencies. Manufacturers buy pulp from a variety of suppliers. The color of the pulp changes with the season and the purity of the raw material. Only Bridge Gate produces the raw pulp in the same plant where we produce the servingware. This “co-location” allows us to control the raw material and the color. Our customers receive a consistent hue year round that allows them to offer consumers a high quality consistent experience.

The natural color of sugar is closer to white than brown. Many compostable containers use sugar and sugar plant bi-products as their base. Sugar takes an enormous amount of water and energy to grow and process. Again, for foodservice operators that truly want to support the planet, using sugar-based products is not the best choice. For well-informed consumers, white servingware projects a sugar image. Using brown product signals your better understanding of the environment.comp

There is an expression, “people eat with their eyes.” Of course, the meaning is that when food looks good, it tastes better. Chefs spend time and energy to create plate presentations that delight consumers and satisfy additional senses. Some people say that serving food on white looks “clean.” From an objective point of view, serving food on a light brown canvass enhances the earth tone elements of many foods. In the carry out world, browns highlight crusts on bread, skins on chicken and the oven marks on burrito wrappers. They improve the overall plate presentation and underscore the “natural” look that many consumers crave.

When foodservice operators opt to use compostable servingware, the main benefits are conserving the environment, enhancing the presentation, and satisfying their customers’ desire to vote their interests with their wallets. For this decision process, brown servingware outshines white. When you select your carry out ensemble, consider the image you want to project and the full impact on our world. Choosing brown over white has the most benefits for consumers and for the planet.

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