How Ventilation Keeps Hot Food Fresh

Some of our takeaway and restaurant partners have asked us to improve our bags by way of closing off ventilation holes in the bags. They cite that as the heat can escape through these holes, the food gets colder much quicker.

However, what takeways need to understand is that some food ventilation is required.

Why are ventilation holes important in a delivery bag?

By having a few air holes placed in the right areas, we can rid the bag and the food items inside the bag from getting a buildup of condensation. If there is no ventilation, then condensation forms on the underside of the lid as per the image below. By the time the order is delivered, a layer of water forms on top of the curry, with customers complaining that the curry is “too watery”.

The choice is yours: do you compromise or risk delivering a soggy pizza?

How does condensation affect a delivery?

Once that Chicken Tikka Balti is freshly cooked and the finely chopped coriander is generously used as a garnish on top, the beautiful aroma is sealed shut by an aluminium lid. The next time this fantastic creation is exposed to the world will be once it’s arrived at it’s destination, ready to chowed down by one lucky soul (or a couple more if generosity is the air).

But, picture this. Once the dish arrives at the customer’s house and the brown paper bag is placed on the kitchen worktop, the customer will be all sweaty and aching to get that lid open and to dive into the juicy chicken tikka hidden in the spicy balti sauce.

But wait. It’s stone cold; Winter has returned. The lid is dripping with condensation and the balti curry has turned into a mushy gel of disappointment.

That is not the outcome any of us want.

What causes condensation to form inside the container?

What happens to steam rising up from the food, is that it condenses onto the underside of the foil lid container. These water droplets that sit on the underside then drop onto the food item (which is a chicken tikka balti in our example). Upon contact, these water droplets absorb the latent heat of the food item and proceeds to (gradually) cool the food down. An added downside is the visual aspect, whereby a layer or film of water sits on top of the curry, making the whole dish look unappetising.

This pizza box for example, is a little different from the traditional pizza boxes you find used throughout the world.

ventilated pizza box

The top cover has had cut-outs in various areas to ensure that any steam rising from the freshly cooked pizza does not collect on the cardboard underside and instead, ventilates out through strategically placed cut outs. In this way, very little condensation is formed i.e. no water droplets will hit the crust, causing it go soggy. The end result is a fresher tasting, crispier pizza.

Naturally, there is a downside to it and you’ve all probably guessed it: the food item will go colder a little quicker. Bear in mind though that there is less latent heat being lost when the water droplets hit the food, so the difference isn’t as massive as you’d probably expect

Our bags all have some level of ventilation

Using the reasoning above and from our own experience, we ensure that all of our pizza delivery bags and takeaway delivery bags have some ventilation. We can understand why some customers are wanted the holdes covered up, but very much like living in Britain – it get’s wet! We need air bricks to get a draught going otherwise the whole house gets damp. Imaging that – a soggy pizza in a soggy house. Please don’t invite me around for tea 🙂

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