Development of Food Delivery Industry and Takeout Containers in Canada

takeout containers in canada

Tommy Lai |

After the challenging times of the year 2020, restaurant owners have learned to adapt and keep their businesses open and successful. The increase in takeout containers in Canada and delivery services highlights the importance of online ordering in engaging today's customers. Thus providing them with convenient and fulfilling experiences.  

Development of Food Delivery Services in Canada

The food delivery industry has undergone a gradual transformation. Below is an overview of the growth of these services:

Early Days

  • Phone Orders: In the early days, food delivery primarily relied on customers placing orders over the phone.
  • Limited Options: Only a handful of restaurants offered delivery services.

Emergence of Online Platforms

  • Rise of Online Platforms: The advent of online platforms like Just Eat and SkipTheDishes revolutionized the industry.
  • Increased Options: Consumers have access to a wider range of restaurants and cuisines.
  • Convenience: Ordering became more convenient with online menus and payment options.

App-Based Services

  • Mobile Apps: The transition to mobile apps further streamlined the process.
  • Real-Time Tracking: Features like real-time order tracking improved the customer experience.
  • Market Expansion: Uber Eats and DoorDash entered the Canadian market, leading to increased competition and market expansion.

Changes in Takeout Container Usage Over Time

Takeout containers have seen significant advancements, evolving in materials to enhance both food quality and environmental sustainability:

Traditional Packaging

  • Styrofoam and Plastic: Traditional packaging materials like styrofoam and plastic were prevalent in the early days.
  • Environmental Concerns: Increased awareness of environmental issues led to a push for sustainable alternatives.

Shift Towards Eco-Friendly Solutions

  • Biodegradable Containers: A shift towards biodegradable takeout containers gained momentum.
  • Regulatory Measures: Some provinces and cities introduced regulations encouraging or mandating eco-friendly packaging.

Current Trends in Food Delivery Services

The food delivery industry, which was already experiencing growth, expanded further during the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, food delivery constituted 9 percent of total sales for full-service restaurants in Canada. However, as of April 2020, this figure had risen to 28 percent.

In today's fast-paced world, delivery offers customers convenient access to delicious, high-quality meals. To ensure successful food delivery services, the key lies in providing options that prioritize ease and variety.

The convenience of delivery is cited by 71% of consumers as their reason for choosing it. Ordering food for delivery allows customers to enjoy great meals quickly from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, utilizing third-party platforms for delivery is a cost-effective way for restaurants to generate income.

Nevertheless, pickup orders continue to be popular. Despite the convenience of delivery, the study revealed that customers often choose pickup when they live nearby or believe it's a faster option.

Moreover, pickup customers exhibit loyalty. A significant 72 percent of them ordered pickup from their favourite restaurant at least three times in the past year, with 22 percent doing so ten times or more.

Impact of COVID-19

The pandemic significantly altered people's dining habits. A DoorDash survey revealed a notable decrease in restaurant dining, with 74% of respondents not having dined in a restaurant in the last month and only 13% doing so once.

Despite this shift, support for restaurants remained, albeit in a different form. The survey indicated that 92% of customers opted for pickup and 70% for delivery at least once in the past month.

When choosing their dining options, customers prioritized affordability, quality, and speed. 77% of the survey participants emphasized the importance of low fees, 74% valued a high-quality ordering experience, and 7% prioritized quick service.


Future Trends in Food Delivery Services

The food industry in Canada has always been doing well. But the recent pandemic hit hard, causing many diners and restaurants to close. However, there's a bright spot in these tough times – food delivery is thriving despite lockdowns. 

The deal is people want safer and more convenient ways to get food, thus pushing most restaurants and food companies to adapt quickly in order to keep up. That’s why food delivery stats give us a cool look into one of Canada’s fastest-growing industries.

Below are some facts and figures that will shape food delivery trends.

  • The Canadian food delivery market is expected to reach $98 billion by 2027.
  • Canadians spend an average of $32 per food order on delivery.
  • 49.4% of Canadians will keep ordering food online at least once a week after the pandemic.
  • About 31.3% of Canadians used curbside pickup or home delivery services from grocers in 2020.
  • Food orders through delivery channels grew by 36% in the second half of March 2020 compared to the previous year.
  • The main reason 45.7% of people in Canada hesitate to order food online is the delivery and service fee.
  • Over 50% of restaurants and bars are likely to permanently offer contactless delivery or pickup options.

Common Takeout Packaging Used in Delivery Services

Biodegradable Takeout Packaging


Cornstarch Clamshell Takeout Boxes

Sturdy and eco-friendly, these takeout boxes are made from cornstarch, ensuring they break down naturally. They leave a minimal environmental footprint. Perfect for a variety of food items.

Round Take Out Containers With Lids

Designed for versatility, these round containers with lids are convenient and biodegradable. They provide a sustainable option for packaging diverse meals. They ensure practicality and eco-friendliness.

White Hot Paper Cup

A biodegradable alternative to traditional hot cups, these white paper cups are made to withstand heat while being environmentally conscious. Ideal for your favourite hot beverages on the go without compromising sustainability.

Greaseproof Kraft Paper Sandwich Bag

Crafted from eco-friendly kraft paper, these greaseproof sandwich bags are perfect for on-the-go meals. Biodegradable and sturdy, they keep your sandwiches fresh while contributing to a greener planet.

Eco-Friendly Kraft Takeout Box

An environmentally conscious option for takeout, these kraft takeout boxes are sturdy and biodegradable. They offer a sustainable solution for packaging various food items.

Challenges Faced by the Food Delivery and Takeout Container Industry

Despite its growth trends and market predictions, the food delivery industry has encountered various challenges. Issues such as delivery time, food quality, customer experience, pricing, refunds, and trust-building have been major hurdles. Even with the significant growth post-COVID-19, it required extra effort and investment to assure customers that deliveries are safe and disinfected.

While technology has sped up the food delivery process, the traditional approach of waiting for customers in restaurants and hotels hasn't changed much in many places. Numerous problems persist in the industry despite adopting technology. Ongoing challenges include:

Delivery Challenges

Varied delivery times impact customer satisfaction.

Ensuring food quality during transit is a significant hurdle.

Customer Experience and Loyalty

Shifting customer preferences and intense competition add complexity.

Frequent changes in customer loyalty affect business sustainability.

Pricing and Market Fluctuations

Fluctuating market prices demand constant pricing adjustments.

Competitive pricing is crucial for staying in the market.

Technology and Traditional Approaches

Despite technological adoption, traditional waiting approaches persist.

Challenges persist in aligning traditional practices with technological advancements.

Trust and Safety Assurance

Building and maintaining customer trust requires extra effort.

Post-COVID-19 growth necessitates assuring customers of safe and disinfected deliveries.

Logistical Dilemmas

Determining delivery area restrictions versus business expansion poses logistical challenges.

Critical concerns are allocating the right number of vehicles and ensuring consistent food quality.

Market Competition and Business Sustainability

The rapid growth of food delivery apps poses a threat to local startups.

Maintaining customer loyalty becomes crucial as options for customers increase.

Operational Challenges

Managing large volumes of orders manually becomes a challenge.

Businesses resort to heavy discounts and profit-lowering offers without maintaining customer bases.

Order Sustainable Takeout Containers in Canada

Food delivery services and takeout containers in Canada continue to evolve. Technological advancements, consumer preferences, and global events like the COVID-19 pandemic shape this. 

While online platforms bring convenience, the type of packaging matters for our environment. Opting for eco-friendly choices, like biodegradable containers, supports a sustainable food system. Give Patek Packaging a call for your takeout containers in Canada, and start your eco-friendly packaging journey today.


What Types of Food Do Canadians Order Online?

In Canada, the most popular choice for online food delivery is fast food, preferred by 33% of Canadians. However, regional preferences vary: residents of Prince Edward Island mostly order fruits and vegetables, while in New Brunswick, non-perishables are the most commonly ordered items. 

Fruits and vegetables are the second most popular category nationally, accounting for 22% of orders, followed by dairy products at 21.5%. One-fifth of Canadians favour baked goods for online ordering. Interestingly, during the pandemic, nearly 9% of Canadians used online platforms to order alcohol​​.

How Can Consumers Ensure Their Takeout Containers Are Disposed of Properly?

The proper disposal of takeout containers varies by material and local recycling guidelines. In British Columbia, for example, hard plastic containers and their lids and foil wraps and containers can be recycled in blue bins after rinsing. Foam containers, however, should be taken to a recycling depot and not placed in home recycling bins. Pizza boxes can be recycled with paper if they're not heavily soiled with grease. 

Paper containers are recyclable with paper recycling, provided they are clean. Note that plastic packaging labelled as compostable, biodegradable, oxodegradable, or photodegradable is not accepted in recycling bins​​​​.

What Steps Can Restaurants Take To Minimize Packaging Waste?

To minimize packaging waste, Canadian restaurants are adopting several sustainable practices. These include sourcing ingredients from local and organic farms, reducing food waste, and using energy-efficient equipment and lighting. Emphasis is also on using eco-friendly food packaging and biodegradable take-out containers. 

Many restaurants are shifting towards plant-based food options, which have a lower environmental impact. These efforts not only help reduce environmental impact but also improve the restaurant's reputation and can lead to cost savings. By sourcing locally, restaurants support local economies and reduce transportation-related environmental impacts​​​​​​.

What Innovations Are Being Made in Food Delivery and Takeout Containers in Canada?

Canada is seeing a surge in innovative food packaging solutions aimed at reducing environmental impact. These innovations include the use of compostable and biodegradable materials, such as PLA (polylactic acid) derived from plant-based resources. Some companies are experimenting with edible containers and packaging that can be reused or easily recycled. 

Additionally, there's a growing trend towards minimal packaging and the use of sustainable materials like bamboo and recycled paper.

How Are Food Delivery Services Adapting to Environmental Concerns in Canada?

Food delivery services in Canada are increasingly adopting environmentally friendly practices in response to consumer concerns. This includes partnering with restaurants that use sustainable packaging, offering incentives for customers who choose eco-friendly options, and integrating features in their apps that allow consumers to opt for minimal packaging. 

Some delivery services are also exploring the use of electric vehicles and bikes for delivery to reduce carbon emissions. These initiatives reflect a broader trend toward sustainability in the food delivery industry.