Founder Byron Evans of the award-winning artisan wholesale sandwich maker, Proper Tasty, discloses how the company achieves consistent presentation and reduces food waste using two efficient four-pack semi-automatic heat sealing machines from British manufacturer, Soken Engineering.
Proper Tasty has a local production facility, the envy of most national food-to-go suppliers. Handmaking up to 15,000 sandwiches weekly, the company’s classic wedge – all packaged in fully recyclable natural Kraft card and plant-based film – now accounts for over 50% of sales.
Delivering fresh sandwiches, sub-rolls, wraps and stotties to North East independents, shops, cafes, garage forecourts and major blue chip corporates, Proper Tasty also supplies its sliced and gourmet range to Yorkshire-based English Heritage tearooms and cafes sites. Delivering the highest quality, using regionally-sourced ingredients and, where possible fully-recyclable eco-packaging to reduce waste are all equal factors that underpin this discerning ethical sandwich maker.
Evolving from a sandwich van and sandwich café concept in 2012 to a contract catering van delivery service, keeping money circulating through the local economy was Proper Tasty’s founding mission. Having grown to a five-van delivery business, the pandemic curveball meant the ambitious managing director had to reevaluate the firm’s future business approach. The company sold its five vans, streamlined its operation and ploughed everything back into its wholesale business model.
Supporting Yorkshire’s circular economy
Now employing 25 staff, the adaptive, enterprising team continues to deliver what it does best – pre-packed ‘Proper Tasty’ sandwiches using environmentally-friendly packaging. Its fully circular missive is focused on supporting the rural region’s greener, fairer and stronger low-carbon economy goals.
Reducing waste through its procurement of eco-packaging and rebranding the wedge sandwich range has resulted in a 35% increase in demand among premium customers.
Byron attributes this quantum leap to its distinct and credible eco-brand messaging. He expands: “The feedback from many customers is our eco-packaging combined with locally sourced fillings, such as cheeses and eggs from Wensleydale, meat from nearby suppliers, fillings from Driffield and bread from a local bakery, keeps our footprint low and fits with their sustainability ethos. This is particularly true of prestigious regional customers like English Heritage, where their environmental goals are very aligned with ours.”
Double shelf life
Handling the switch over to heat sealing the eco-packaged wedge range earlier this year was seamless. Designed to adapt to packaging and built to last, the four cavity H535AC heat board sealer from Soken (a subsidiary of British process engineering specialist Jenton International) gives Proper Tasty a consistent quality seal to maintain presentation.
The machines also virtually doubles the shelf life of previously hand-packed pre-cut sandwiches to four days. Maintaining this level of freshness and achieving an air-tight seal significantly reduces the volume of preventable food waste generated by uneaten sandwiches.
“Achieving a perfect and consistent quality seal protects consumers from sandwich leakage, provides visual tamper evidence for heightened quality control and prevents fast-tracking spoilage,” noted Soken manager Stephen Hawes.
Sealing sustainability success
On the busiest days, the Proper Tasty workforce can perfectly present over 2,000 wedged sandwiches, heat sealing eight eco-packaged sandwiches on their two Soken machines every three and a half seconds. The only downside is the team can’t handmake the sandwiches fast enough to match the pace of this semi-automatic air-tight sandwich packing machine.
Knowing the cycle time of the Soken heat sealing process inevitably assists with real-time capacity planning, setting targets and the efficient allocation of resources to specific tasks, added Byron: “We are even able to drill down to the packing time.”
Byron added: “The sustainability pressures have certainly escalated, and rightly so. Yet, at present, there aren’t always financially viable eco-material alternatives for every sandwich sealing machine.” Nevertheless, following the successful switchover to eco-materials on heat-sealed packaged sandwiches, Byron remains determined that Proper Tasty’s full transition to eco-packaging will be complete by the end of the year.