Utensils 101

Utensils 101

Disposable utensils come in a variety of materials, styles and weights. It is important to understand the differences to avoid customers breaking fork prongs on a piece of meat or having a spoon bend in a thick stew. Find a complete breakdown of all the considerations to make when completing your next purchase. 

Utensil Weight indicates how thick the plastic utensil is. Available weights include:

• Medium

For softer lighter food, such as yogurt, rice or butter, the medium-weight spoons, forks and knives work great. 

• Medium-heavy

Both medium-heavy and heavy are great for foods in between soft and tough like chicken and potatoes. 

• Heavy

• Extra-heavy

For foods on the other end of the spectrum such as steak or hot bisques, the extra heavy-weight cutlery may be better suited.

Be sure to consider your menu when deciding which weight to select. It’s best to buy based on the heavier food items since you can always use extra-heavy for yogurt but you cannot use medium for steak. 

Utensil Material plays a greater role in the overall experience and cost of eating with disposable utensils. The material can affect appearance (shiny or matte), feel (soft or hard) and durability (break-resistant or not). You may also decide to go with a material that is made from renewable resources and is biodegradable. Here are the different material options:

Material

Appearance

Texture

Durability

PP (PolyPro) Plastic

Matte

Soft and flexible

Break-resistant

PS (Polystrene) Plastic

Shiny

Hard not flexible

Strong but breakable depending on weight

PLA (Polylactic acid)

Matte

Soft not flexible

Medium but breakable

CPLA (Crystallized Poly Lactic Acid)

Matte

Hard not flexible

Strong but breakable

Wooden 

Buffered, matte

Smooth not flexible

Medium but breakable

Materials that are breakable do not mean brittle. It simply means, if given some force the utensil may snap. It’s important to note that while eco-friendly options are great if you want to reduce your impact on the environment, they may be difficult to cut your pork chop. 

When comparing durability PP versus PS, they both can get the job done if you select the right weight. The appearance and texture is just preference based on the image you want to present to your customers or guests. 

Disposable spoons come in such variety depending on your need, from tiny sample spoons to long soda spoons! Here are the different types of spoons you can find:

•Tasting Spoon

At only 3” long, these spoons are often used when sampling foods. Popularly found in ice cream shops.

• Gelato Spoon

This kind of spoon has a flat nose and is only 3.5” long. It is commonly used for eating gelato. The shovel-like shape makes it easier to scrape the bottom of the cup for every last drop!

• Tea Spoon

The most widely used plastic spoon is the tea spoon. This has an egg shape scoop with medium depth. It’s great for just about anything you may need a spoon for.

• Soup Spoon

Soup spoons are more round and deep to best contain soup liquid.

• Soda Spoon

These spoons are very long at 8”. The long neck of the spoon makes it easy to scoop ice cream at the bottom of an ice cream float which is traditionally served in tall glasses.

• Spork

Half spoon, half fork! The spork allows you to switch between poking or scooping your food. It can be more cost-efficient to only supply sporks instead of both spoons and forks.

Utensil colors don’t vary much for plastic forks and plastic knives which are mostly found in black or white. However, plastic spoons can come in a wide assortment of colors! Karat offers a rainbow assortment of gelato spoons, tea spoons and soda spoons. There are even color changing tea spoons that alter colors based on hot or cold foods. 

Wrapped Utensils are more important than ever now. Many guests are conscious of sanitation, especially when it comes to food. You can find individually wrapped utensils or complete wrapped cutlery kits. Selecting individually wrapped utensils may offer peace of mind to guests or customers that their disposable utensils are safe and sanitary. There are also many options of kits for each kind of menu so consider what utensils your customers will possibly need. 

Now you should be able to expertly select the right utensils for your business or event.