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Cater Source Conference: Serving Eco to the Masses

March 9, 2011

 

Spring is just around the corner, and as the lovely __ in my garden are beginning to bud, dkkevents is growing in sustainable know-how with all the new product and green line discoveries I made at the Cater Source Conference and Trade Show in Las Vegas.

The event was hosted in the Convention Center of the ever so chic (shame I didn’t wear my heals kind-of-place) Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  In a strange moment of irony, I found the Tobacco Plus Expo to be coinciding with the Eco-inspired ways to feed large crowds; their strains of tobacco instead touted ways to poison them.  I tried to sneak in, but to no avail…call it morbid curiosity?

At the Cater Source Convention, the largest of its kind in the US for supplies to the catering and food industry, I unearthed green catering supplies that comprised only about 20% of the materials on display.  Among those featured were old industry favorites like D&W Fine Pack, breaking ground with newer lines like Revive, disposable tableware made out of renewable sugarcane pulp. C&M Fine Pack, a division of D&W, is utilizing green initiatives to turn their own waste into usable alternative products, from benches to stadium flooring.  They have also refined the way that water is used in the manufacturing of their products, reducing overall usage through a loop system. These breakthroughs in efficient engineering are crucial for older businesses to embrace so that consumers on any level are able to purchase sustainably made goods.

Renew-a-Pak, a line of biodegradable rigid packaging from Biosphere Industries, is a high performance, starch based (tapioca and potato) material, free of harsh chemicals and plastic.  Their diverse line of bake and serve ware can sustain the extreme temperatures needed for heating and freezing food, and once disposed it breaks down in the environment within 40 days (10 days in a commercial compost).  Renew-a-Pak is engineered and certified as a clean, non-toxic product at each stage of use and degradability.

Bamboo as a renewable resource is also a plate I’ve been a fan of since it first stepped onto the scene- 5 years ago in limited availability.   Square plates and some additional serving pieces are expanding functional décor choices at the table. A loyal shout out to Eco-Bamboo Ware who looked great at the show with their elegant dishware, and Eco-Pro Co the best solution for educational institutions with their extensive line of biodegradable tableware and bamboo fiber-ware.

An exciting, yet confusing, direction for the industry was all the new wood products I saw at the show.  Not necessarily ‘green’, wood is more of a hybrid product, responding to consumer desire for items made of material other than plastic to fulfill their equipment needs.  For example, disposable wood serving trays from CCSCreative and PacknWood are great for café display case snacks or petite party trays.  And finally, sustainable, FUNCTIONAL forks from Birchware- no more haphazard scooping or bits of non-chewable fork stems in your food!

Ice cream is one thing, but gelato, that’s a whole other treat!  I got super excited over the Dolcetti, the first portable power-free gelato catering cabinet, made by Trio Cabinet.  It requires NO power, keeping 3 pans of gelato cold with less than one brick of dry ice.  It weights 25 pounds, is NSF approved and made in the USA.  Dry ice is a safe compound of solidified carbon dioxide that takes about 18 hours to melt.  It’s beyond cold but such a hot commodity in all sorts of food and drink mixologypractices.  With such a long life span, the drink and gelato will stay cool for as long as you can keep the party going!

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