Award-winning industrial design and innovation consultancy, Morrama, reveals the development of a more sustainable packaging range for restaurant chain wagamama. The new packaging will be implemented across the delivery and takeaway operations, replacing over eight million plastic packaging items.
Approached by wagamama in 2021, the design team was challenged to rethink the restaurant’s takeaway packaging to meet the brand’s ambitious sustainability goals.
Drawing inspiration from the circular economy strategy and with advice from external recycling and packaging experts, the innovation agency first defined the driving principles behind wagamama’s packaging redesign:
- Reduce: wagamama will no longer rely on up to 330 tonnes of virgin plastic every year for its delivery packaging operations
- Recycle: wagamama is the first in the industry to use materials made from 70% recycled content
- Improve: Morrama worked with both wagamama guests and team to improve the overall experience from ‘bowl to soul’.
Where possible plastic was removed completely. However, despite exploring bio-based and biodegradable materials, plastic remained necessary to preserve the taste and temperature of some dishes and ensure they make it to customers without leakages. To ensure the new packaging range met the sustainability criteria, Morrama spent over a year working alongside a thermoformed food packaging supplier to develop a solution using a new, industry-first recyclable material called cPET.
The design of the packaging itself is representative of Morrama’s attention to detail. The form and aesthetic is a fresh take on the restaurant’s distinctive ramen bowls. Thoughtful considerations extend from how the bowls stack in the bag to how crispy squid is kept crispy, whilst removing excess material at every step. A more natural light sandy tone has replaced the distinctive wagamama grey, reflecting this planet-conscious step forward, and ensuring the materials are more easily picked up by the scanners in recycling plants.
Jo Barnard, founder of Morrama, comments, “It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with the team at wagamama. They are constantly pushing and questioning the sustainable credentials of their packaging, wanting to do the absolute best possible. The goal of this project has been about reduction as well as improving the experience for both their team and guests. We are over the moon with the outcome.”
Kay Bartlett, Customer Director, wagamama, adds, “Our new sustainable packaging range is a fantastic initiative that comes at the right time as we aim to reduce impact across all our operations. We spent months exploring various options, trialling and testing different materials, and working with leading experts in these fields. Morrama truly understood our values and goals for this project, and helped us make it a reality.”
The new packaging will begin rolling out from this month and will be live across all restaurants and delivery kitchens by October once the old stocks are used up.