Baked goods pose a whole new set of challenges for large-scale bakeries, grocery stores, and warehouses. They’re more fragile than most other goods, and are susceptible to contamination that could compromise your entire supply. How do you prevent damaging baked goods while simultaneously streamlining your entire process?
It all comes down to bakery trays! These food-grade plastic containers are specifically designed for storing and shipping large quantities of baked goods so they go from oven to consumer with minimal damage.
With automation and e-commerce on the rise, more and more bakeries are converting from small, storefront operations to massive businesses with the capacity to ship fresh-baked goods all over the world. And, of course, sliced bread manufacturers have always needed cutting-edge equipment to transport goods from bakery to truck to grocery store shelves.
One of the biggest issues associated with commercial bread-making is the risk of squishing or smashing. The right commercial bakery containers will help ensure that your sliced bread arrives at stores in good shape.
Bakery Trays: The Basics
The great thing about bakery trays is that they’re designed to help you safely handle large quantities of bread loaves without damage. They can be stacked on bakery tray dollies — many of which can hold more than a dozen crates — for a simpler way to transport large amounts of bread and other baked goods throughout your facility, whether it’s the bakery or the grocery store itself. Generally, they’re constructed from food-grade plastic (usually high-density polyethylene) and are designed to nest into one another for easy space savings.
Additionally, well-made bakery trays are designed with mesh sides and bottoms, which encourage airflow and prevent mold and mildew accumulation. Smooth surfaces also help to prevent the snagging of plastic bakery bags, while reinforced footing helps keep the crates secure when stacked. In essence, a good set of bread trays will help streamline your entire supply chain by allowing workers to quickly pack, store, ship, and shelve fresh-baked bread and other baked goods.
What to Look for in Bread Trays
With so many bakery trays on the market, it can be hard to know what to look for. Of course, deciding which products to choose often comes down to your specific application.
Your bakery equipment and the products at hand will help you determine which type of bread tray is most appropriate for your needs. In general, though, you should look for bakery trays that have the following features.
- FDA Approved — As you probably know, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a stringent set of standards for packaging and food contact substances (FCS). Essentially, the FDA sets these standards to ensure that no food comes into contact with chemical contaminants that could make consumers ill. Make sure to always choose bread trays that have the FDA-approved designation to keep your operation up to code.
- Versatility — The best bakery bread trays should be both durable and lightweight. This can be achieved through food-grade plastic materials that are resistant to cracking, snapping, and damage due to fluctuating temperatures. Choosing lightweight bread trays is especially important for operations concerned with shipping and large-scale storage, since heavyweight trays can compromise fuel economy and will require more pallets to store or transport the same quantity of items.
- Easy to Clean and Sanitize — The ability to thoroughly clean your food-grade containers is extremely important, as it keeps your process up to code by preventing contamination and helps keep baked goods from picking up external flavors and odors. As previously mentioned, many FDA-approved bread trays are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic and other types of plastic that are extremely easy to clean by hand or in a machine.
Should I Buy New or Used?
Container Exchanger is happy to help you find both new and used food-grade containers for your bakery, restaurant, grocery store, or food processing facility. Determining whether to buy new or used bakery trays really comes down to your budget and personal needs. Of course, buying used often means major savings up front.
With that being said, you typically don’t have the same customization options when buying used as you would when buying new (and you may be limited on quantity), and used styles may not last as long. We’d be happy to help you decide which type of bakery trays are best-suited for your needs and budget.