For the past seventeen years, we have been asking raw
material suppliers, machinery suppliers, converters, foodservice distributors
and operators to share with us information that we compile into our state of
the industry report. In this survey, we
ask as few questions as possible to help us get to that snapshot of what
today’s foodservice packaging industry looks like. It’s meant to be a reflection on 2015 as well
as a preview of what folks think is coming in 2016. We send the survey out in January of each
year to try to capture those early impressions of the current year. FPI members are, of course, asked to
participate, but we also open our survey to non-members within the industry. The benefit to participation by non-members
is that we share the full report with those who complete the survey.
So, what did we see in this year’s report? Things are positive. 2015 was a pretty good year. About
57 percent of supplier and converter respondents experienced growth in volume,
and nearly 60 percent reported profit growth in 2015. One hundred percent of the responding
foodservice distributors rated 2015 better than 2014 in terms of sales of
foodservice, and over 75 percent of the foodservice operators polled claimed
better sales in foodservice for 2015.
We’ve all seen the
bouncing around taking place in the markets as of recent. The first few days of 2016 were a little
unsettling and sometimes when I listen to the reports from Wall Street on my
way home, it’s a little unnerving to think about what’s going on with my
retirement accounts! I think maybe a
little of this volatility rubbed off on our respondents as they made their
predictions for 2016. Lots of people
believe 2016 will be a good year, the optimism feels a little more
cautious. Almost 70 percent of
responding foodservice operators felt that foodservice sales would be better in
2016 than they were in 2015, and 75 percent of foodservice distributors thought
2016 would see better foodservice sales over 2015. For converters and suppliers, 65 percent of
the North American manufacturers reported corporate expansion plans through
construction of new facilities, expansion of current facilities, and mergers
and acquisitions. More than half of North American converters also plan to
purchase new machinery in 2016.
In addition to
questions related to last year and this current year, we also ask a few
mid-term questions about the next 5 years.
The raw material and machinery suppliers as well as converters are asked
about specific areas they feel are poised to grow. Respondents this year foresee that the
greatest area for market expansion over the next five years is in the fast
casual sector. This is due to the segment gaining the attention of the
millennial generation and drawing customers from traditional quick- and
full-service restaurants. Other areas for potential growth include convenience
stores and quick serve restaurants.
These are just a
few tidbits, of course. The report
itself is a meaty 50 plus pages, with compiled and aggregated responses from
all of our sectors. For everyone who did
participate this year, thank you! A copy of the report should be on its way to
If you are eligible (aka a raw material or machinery supplier, a converter, foodservice distributor or foodservice operator) and haven't participated before in the survey, I would highly encourage you to do so. We know it takes a few minutes and surveys get old fast, but the knowledge we gain back from you is so important. If you would like more information or would like to be on our lists for next year's survey, shoot me an email.