Do you love Japanese cuisine?

Then you will probably have enjoyed take-away sushi! And therefore also its packaging: food trays, chopsticks, sachets and even small cups for sauces. A practical, safe and even fun kit to use. But too often we find plastic packaging in our hands. And this raises the question of sustainable packaging.

Sound crazy? According to the Deliveroo platform (which brings together 1,800 sushi restaurants across Italy), sushi delivery requests have jumped by 134% in the last year. Takeaway food, it is clear, has also seen strong increases due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic. But the desire for sushi has remained even with the reopenings: according to Nielsen, between April 2020 and May 2021, there was a +68% increase in sales.

Great news for the restaurant industry! But what can be done to make this growth eco-friendly?  

A brilliant young Milanese restaurant company has found a way: Ipposushi, which offers the most popular Asian specialities with a new concept and innovative packaging.

Aluminium tubes for take-away sushi: why not? 

Ippo means ‘one step‘ in Japanese. And it perfectly sums up the philosophy of this sophisticated sushi boutique, which has managed to stand out in a very competitive environment. In Milan, Japanese specialities are no longer considered a trend, but part of the city’s gastronomic identity. Already in 2018, there were more than 700. Doing so during a global pandemic – which has put the entire industry under extreme pressure – seems crazy. However, Ipposushi has won its bet. Thanks also to a smart choice of packaging.

The company’s co-founder, Fabio Zhou, explains: “There are so many Japanese restaurants in Milan, it is necessary to stand out. Customers have become increasingly exigent: in recent years they have learnt to know and appreciate sushi and are now looking for something different. We trained for a long time in South-East Asia, where we found new flavours that we reinvented according to the Mediterranean taste and tradition”. This new concept, however, needed packaging to match its philosophy. “We decided right away to use eco-sustainable packaging, with trays and accessories made of paper and cardboard for food. But we needed an extra touch, something that would communicate the value of the brand. And it was at this point that our path crossed that of Tubettificio Favia.”

The idea of Fabio and Kai, the co-founder, is to replace the classic plastic containers of sauces and wasabi with aluminium tubes. “Wasabi should be enjoyed freshly made. When it comes into contact with air, it tends to lose its unmistakable spicy taste. But generally the portion that comes with the sushi is never fully used. Customers would sometimes refuse the wasabi saying ‘I still have some from last dinner”. We realised that this was potential food waste. So we decided to replace the traditional plastic tubs with handy re-sealable aluminium tubes: inside the tube, the wasabi is protected from contact with the air, so it doesn’t deteriorate and can be stored for a long time without losing its vibrancy. But not only that. “The plastic tub is anonymous. The Favia tubes, on the other hand, have a beautiful colour graphic that brings out our brand identity. So we decided to use them also for teriaky sauce and another hot sauce that we use in some rolls.”

How did the customers react? “At first they were surprised, but then they accepted the innovation very well. The tubes come with all take-away packages and are now a distinctive feature of Ipposushi“. In the meantime, Ipposushi is enjoying its well-deserved success and thinking about the future: “We are renovating the restaurant to have tables and seats inside and we plan to open a new point of sale in 2022.

Changing habits can be the key to success. Even in packaging. What about you? Are you ready to innovate your packaging strategy for next year? 

Contact us to discuss it together!