A Hayward bag manufacturer’s sealable food delivery bags have taken off in popularity in response to growing fears over the safety of food delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mike Tan, CEO of Pan Pacific Manufacturing said he designed the line of Seal-2-Go bags in 2017, partially in response reports of delivery drivers digging into their food deliveries before reaching their destinations.
But since California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home orders in March, demand for the bags has increased in tandem with restaurants converting their menus to take-out only.
“When the food’s packaged in our delivery bag,” Tan said above the din of his manufacturing plant, “I think the consumers have more confidence there hasn’t been any tampering.”
The bags, offered both in paper and plastic, have an adhesive strip that seals them shut. If anyone attempts to tear into the bag, damage to the seal is obvious.
While the bags were designed to ward off tampering by would-be-French fry-stealing delivery drivers, they’ve now found demand from restaurants and consumers seeking assurances their take-out orders are coronavirus free. The bags are at least a guarantee the food has gone directly from restaurant to consumer.
“With our bag,” Tan said, “we’ve been able to protect not only the restaurant, but the consumers and the delivery drivers.”
Restaurants that have converted to take-out only like Broderick Roadhouse in Sacramento are using the sealable bags to protect their take-out orders.
“This was a way to make sure, when the folks got their food nobody touched it,” said Broderick Roadhouse manager Chris Jarosz.
Tan said the increased in demand for the bags is bittersweet, as it comes as the result of a pandemic that has hurt thousands of businesses. The popularity for the bags comes with a drop in demand for other bags the company makes as a result of the hobbled economy.
“We’re saddened by this pandemic that’s hit the country and I know it’s taken a toll on a lot of the independent restaurants,” Tan said. “We feel fortunate we’re able to provide a product like Seal-2-Go to regain consumer confidence.”
Tan, whose in-laws started the company in the 1980s, stood in the middle of the manufacturing plant in industrial Hayward, as machines all around him clattered and whirred, turning out plastic bags of all sizes, many bearing the logos of major brands.
He proudly showed several trade awards he received for the design of his bags — not knowing they would eventually land him on the front lines of the battle against a mysterious illness.