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Types of Food Storage Containers

Which Food Storage Containers Are Best for Your Kitchen?

Food storage containers are essential to any commercial kitchen. There are different shapes, sizes, and materials, each with its own special function. Knowing which container to use for each of your food items is important for you to have a well-organized kitchen.

Common Food Storage Container Materials

Clear polycarbonate food storage container

Polycarbonate (Clear)

  • Crystal-clear clarity
  • Shatter-proof construction
  • Can withstand temperatures from -40 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Resists food acids and oils to maintain their clarity
  • Most expensive option

Translucent polypropylene food storage container

Polypropylene (Translucent)

  • Translucent appearance
  • 100% Bisphenol-A (BPA) free food contact surface
  • Can withstand temperatures from -40 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • High chemical resistance

White polyethylene food storage container

Polyethylene (White)

  • Solid white appearance
  • 100% Bisphenol-A (BPA) free food contact surface
  • Can withstand temperatures from -40 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Impact, stain, and chemical resistant construction
  • Most economical option

Food Storage Container Shapes

Restaurant Equipment

Round Containers

  • Allows for faster cooling times
  • Minimizes food waste
  • Ideal for stirring sauces and soups

Restaurant Equipment

Square Containers

  • Maximizes storage space
  • Holds more product in a smaller area
  • Great for storing freshly-chopped fruit salad, sliced vegetables, soup stock, or stew

Food Storage Container Sizes

Restaurant Equipment

Small Containers

  • Available in capacities as small as 8 oz.
  • Great for storing surplus from food prep batches and low-volume ingredients like spices, strong condiments, and food prep kit components
  • Can help save space in your walk-in cooler

Restaurant Equipment

Medium Containers

  • Capacities range anywhere from 0.2 to 22 qt. 
  • Great for storing a wide variety of individual ingredients or batches of finished recipes

Restaurant Equipment

Large Containers

  • Available in capacities as large as 12 gallons
  • Ideal for storing large amounts of ingredients or pre-prepared foods, both dry and wet

Food Storage Container Features

Restaurant Equipment

Graduations/Measurements

  • Able to provide approximate measurements
  • Graduations or measurements are etched or printed on the exterior of containers

Restaurant Equipment

Stackability

  • For space-saving storage, these containers have a stackable design
  • Stacking lugs allow for safe, stable stacking
  • Can stack with other containers of the same brand, or with similar brands

Other Types of Food Storage Containers

While there are food storage containers, there are also other unique containers that are used for specific purposes in the kitchen that are outside the realm of normal containers.
Food storage box

Food Storage Boxes

  • Keeps food fresh and organized
  • Can also be used to store tools or as warewashing tubs
  • Great for bulk applications or pre-prepared food

Pizza dough box

Pizza Dough Boxes

  • Great for proofing and storing pizza dough; for more informaiton, view the Proofing Dough and Dough Boxes Guide
  • Prevents crusting to increase storage life of dough
  • Can be paired with dollies for better transportation

Drain box

Drain Boxes

  • Increase air circulation to keep food fresher longer
  • Keeps the contents and drained liquids separate
  • Drains or thaws products while reducing risk of cross-contamination

Ingredient bin

Ingredient Bins

  • Great for bulk storage
  • Multiple compartment bins can be used for easier ingredient identification
  • Perfect height to slid under work tables

Spice containers

Spice Containers

  • Ideal for holding small, dry food items
  • Clear plastic construction for easy product identification
  • Lids easily twist on and off to keep ingredients fresh

Features of your Food Storage Container Lids

Use compatible lids for your food storage containers so your food can always be covered. This will keep it fresh and safe from harmful contaminants.
Cambro seal cover for food storage container

Cambro Seal Cover

  • Tight fitting and spill resistant
  • Inner and outer seal for superior protection
  • Compatible with select Cambro containers
  • Other available lids that enable you to tip the container upside-down without leaking

Snap-on lid for food storage container

Snap-On Lids

  • Easy-on/easy-off for an airtight fit and spill-resistance
  • Less expensive
  • No leakage-free guarantee
  • Can be easily removed to keep food and ingredients uncomtaminated and organized

Color-coded lids for food storage containers

Color-Coded

  • Color-coded lids allow for fast lid identificaiton with one color per size
  • Are not liquid tight, but offer a snap-tight closure
  • The different colors can be used to separate foods and ingredients

Common Certifications for Food Storage Containers

NSF Listed - NSF International's primary function is to create sanitation safety standards for testing products. In most instances, restaurants will be required to have NSF Listed equipment and supplies to pass health inspections. NSF Certifications are noted on every product that meets these industry standards.

Dishwasher Safe - Most food storage containers are able to be cleaned by being put into a commercial dishwasher. While there are some types of items that can only be washed by hand, food storage containers are dishwasher safe, which makes cleanup quick and easy.

Freezer Safe - It can be important for food storage containers to be freezer safe. This means that they are able to withstand low temperature applications and are safe for freezer storage. This is especially helpful when you are storing foods that need to be kept at low temperatures.

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