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How to Keep Food Hot for Delivery with Insulated Bags

Delivering food from kitchen to customer can be challenging without the right tools for successful delivery. Insulated food delivery bags maintain food temperatures while controlling moisture. By keeping moisture at bay, these bags help to keep foods fresh and prevent them from becoming soggy when transporting them from one place to another. This guide will go over the types of insulated bags so you can choose the best food delivery bags for your business.

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How Do Insulated Bags Work?

Foam insulation is what maintains hot foods' temperatures in delivery bags. It is found between the outer layer of the fabric and the inner lining of the bag, acting to reduce heat conduction, the transfer of heat through a solid, with its excellent insulating abilities. Typically, insulated food delivery bags will have a 1" or 2" thick insulation within their cores.

Types of Insulated Food Delivery Bags

Insulated food bags are versatile additions to any commercial catering business or food delivery service. They are designed to carry cans, bottles, deli trays, sandwiches, food pans, and pizzas with ease. Selecting the best food delivery bag for your business is just as important as making sure your menu is adapted for take-out service.

Restaurant Equipment

Cooler Bags

Perfect for transporting cold beer, soda, and wine, cooler bags are useful for outdoor catered events, tailgates, and concessions. Their insulated, leak-proof design keeps contents cool and fresh. While adding ice or ice packs to a cooler bag is not necessary for it to work, they will help your contents remain cooler for longer. 

Cooler bags can also be used to transport hot and cold subs, deli trays, baked goods, and various take-out containers. Their layer of insulation helps maintain safe food temperatures and acts as a moisture barrier.

Restaurant Equipment

Pizza Delivery Bags

Make it easy for your business to deliver hot, fresh pizza with pizza delivery bags. A pizza delivery bag must be breathable enough to allow moisture to escape, preventing the pizza from getting soggy during transport, with thick insulation to keep the pizza piping hot upon delivery. To achieve this, they are typically made with a nylon exterior and polyester insulation to ensure heat retention, moisture control, and maximum durability. 

In addition to pizzas, pizza delivery bags are great for carrying wraps, subs, wings, strombolis, and side orders.

Restaurant Equipment

Food Delivery Backpacks

If you are a courier for a third-party delivery service or live in urban areas, food delivery backpacks are essential to your business. Padded buckle straps and handles allow these bags to be carried by hand, back, or on scooters and bikes. Food delivery backpacks have reflective safety strips that help protect users during evening deliveries.

Insulated food delivery backpacks are also ideal for caterers. They often include dividers and can be used to carry sauces, dressings, and beverages.

Restaurant Equipment

Food Pan Catering Bags

Featuring a top-loading design for easy stacking, food pan catering bags typically have reinforced bottoms and stitching to support the heavy weight of food pans and chafer dishes. They also have high walls and a rectangular shape to accommodate a range of food pan sizes and depths.

Compared to other types of food pan carriers, fabric food pan bags are collapsible for convenient storage, making them great for small kitchens and restaurants that occasionally cater.

Nylon vs Vinyl Food Delivery Bags

Insulated food delivery bags are available with nylon or vinyl exteriors. Both materials are water resistant, making them ideal for delivery in any weather condition, including rain, sleet, or snow.

Nylon vs vinyl material diagram

Nylon-insulated food delivery bags are more expensive than vinyl but are more breathable. This breathability allows the bags to keep your foods warm while allowing steam to escape. When looking for the best pizza delivery bags, nylon bags are a great option. They will minimize steam retention to keep your pizza crusts crispy.

Vinyl-insulated food delivery bags are more affordable than nylon bags but don't breathe as easily so moisture tends to get trapped in the bags, resulting in faster food deterioration. To compensate for this, many vinyl bags have steam vents to minimize trapped moisture.

Insulated Bags Loading Styles

Insulated food delivery bags may have top-loading or side-loading designs. Which design is best for you depends on the types of foods you'll be transporting.

Restaurant Equipment

Top Loading Insulated Food Delivery Bags

Use top-loading insulated food delivery bags to transport stacked products. These bags enable staff to easily stack beverages, deli trays, take-out containers, and food pans of various sizes and shapes together.

  • Ideal for catering applications
  • Able to carry a wider variety of items
  • Collapsible for easy storage
  • Not as quick to load and unload
Restaurant Equipment

Side Loading Food Delivery Bags

Most often associated with pizza delivery bags, side-loading insulated food delivery bags allow users to slide products into the bags from the front.

  • Easy to load and unload food
  • Ideal for carrying pizza boxes, food pans, and deli trays
  • Collapsible for easy storage
  • Basic, no-frills design; typically does not include exterior pockets for holding drinks

Insulated Food Delivery Bag Features

When deciding on the best insulated food delivery bag, here are some features to look out for:

Restaurant Equipment
  • Antimicrobial Liner: Ensures liquids and food debris do not enter the foam insulation, preventing odors, mold, and bacteria growth.
  • Hardboard Bottom: Helps ensure stability when transporting. Bags with hardboard bottoms are especially useful when carrying heavy food pans and deli trays.
  • Heavy Stitching: Prevents rips and tears at the seams.
  • Lid Pocket: Accepts hot and cold packs to help maintain food-safe temperatures.
  • Reflective Stripes: Keep your delivery drivers safe during late-night deliveries. Bags with reflective stripes are a necessary feature for those who will be delivering food via bike.
  • Reinforced Handle: Promotes safe, comfortable carrying.
  • Shelving: Allows you to transport boxes or pans without them being crushed or damaged. Bags with shelving come with either adjustable or fixed rack shelves.
  • Steam Vents: Allow excess moisture to escape, preventing packaging and food from getting soggy.
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