Plastic Food Containers

Easily taken for granted, plastic food containers are a staple supply in any food service operation. It's beneficial to take the time to become familiar with the main types, materials and sizes. By paying attention to these attributes, you could save money in both the cost of the container and in the reduction of food waste through a more efficient operation.

When shopping for plastic food containers, it is important to know which type of container you need and what the container is made of before deciding. Here are the different types of containers and material options, to help you decide what you need.


Types of Containers

Food Pan Sizes

Food pans come in various sizes, designed to fit wells, transports, and chafers. These are available in various materials, to allow for a large temperature range. They can accommodate prep, refrigeration, cooking, warming, and serving. Lids are also available for different applications.

Food Storage Boxes

Food storage boxes are designed for bulk storage, allowing for the largest capacity. They have a stackable design, for efficient storage. These are perfect for replacing the original packaging after receiving new items. Sliding lids are also available for one handed operation. These are ideal for kitchen container storage. Depth options range from:

  • 3-1/2"
  • 6"
  • 9"
  • 12"
  • 15"

Dough Boxes

Dough boxes are great for storing pizza dough and increasing the storage life of the dough. These can often be stacked, for more efficient storing, along with dollies for easier transportation. These typically are sized at 18” x 26”.  

Ingredient Bins

Ingredient bins are designed to keep your frequently used dry ingredients fresh and organized. These come in a range of sizes, and shapes – ranges from square, round and rectangle. Under counter and shelf styles both available, depending on your business needs. Sizes range from:

  • 2-20 Gallons
  • 21-32 Gallons
  • 34-55 Gallons


Multiple Ingredient Bins

Multiple ingredient bins are perfect if you want to keep all your dry ingredients in one area. These can be color coded, to easily identify which ingredient that you need. These fit under work tables and have casters, to easily slide around. To find the correct ingredient bin that you need, you will need to consider what type of ingredients that will be stored in them. Ingredient bin capacities are based in gallons.


Sizing & Shapes

Food storage containers  come in either round or square sizes. The round storage shape is helpful in promoting air circulation, allowing for faster cooling and minimize food waste. Square food storage containers hold more product in a smaller space. To find the correct food storage and pans, you will need to consider what type of product will be going in yours. Will it be wet or dry ingredients, fresh produce, or sauces and soups. Food storage containers come in a variety of sizes, such as:

  • 2 C.
  • 3 C.
  • 1 Qt.
  • 5 Qt.
  • 4 Qt.
  • 6 Qt.
  • 8 Qt.
  • 12 Qt.
  • 18 Qt.
  • 22 Qt.

Material Types

Polycarbonate offers a high impact resistance and rigid construction, that is highly stain resistant. The clear construction is great for visibility. The average temperature range is -40°F to +375°F, making their use versatile. These are available in round and square.

*May contain Bisphenol-A (BPA)

Price: $$$

Polypropylene offers impact resistant and sturdy construction. It is more flexible than polycarbonate and high heat, but not quite as flexible as polyethylene. Polypropylene is translucent in appearance, but can be colored for different applications. It is recyclable, microwavable, and dishwasher safe. The average temperature range is 0°F to +230°F (Not ideal for freezing). Available in round or square. BPA free.

Price: $$

Polyethylene offers impact resistant and sturdy construction, the most flexible of the materials. Usually it is white in color, but can be colored for different applications. Polyethylene is recyclable and dishwasher safe. The average temperature range is -40°F to +180°F (Not ideal for cooking). BPA free

Price: $




Lids are a great accessory to purchase with your containers. They ensure that the contents of your containers will remain fresh, until they can be used. When it comes to lids, there are different options to chose from.Some offer spill proof resistance, while others only snap on. Additionally, some slide or flip.

Drain Trays

Drain trays are plastic trays that can be put into food storage boxes, to allow for liquids to drain, while continuing to maintain optimal freshness.

Color Coding

When find the best food storage containers for your restaurant, color coding is a great option. This allows you to put certain foods in a particular container every time, so there is no mistake what is always in each container. This is especiallly important to not only make your kitchen more efficient, but also to make your kitchen allergy friendly.