For the seventh year in a row, FPI has conducted its trends survey, subsequently following it with a trends report. Pretty straightforward and not altogether interesting when you see it in a sentence like that, right? Well, as the one who gets to compile this information every year (at least the past five years), Iím here to tell you, itís actually rather fascinating.
Our members answer six short opinion-based questions. These are the same questions for raw material suppliers, machinery manufacturers, converters, distributors and operators. It takes, on average, seven minutes to complete. Within that short bit of time, our members are able to offer us, and, through the report, others within the industry, insight into the trends within the foodservice packaging supply chain.
Each year it amazes me just how much people have to say. When we draft the report, we compile all of the responses, identifying participants only by their sector (i.e. supplier, converter, distributor or operator). We allow participants to opt out of any question we ask, but I would say itís rare for anyone to only answer the questions pertaining to their own segment. In general, people within the industry are certainly paying attention to all the moving parts and not just their own little piece of the puzzle. If you ask our participants what they think, theyíre likely going to share it!
Thatís how I put together the first part of the report. Itís simply the compilation of responses, as close to exactly the way our participants have written it. If folks are saying something in the same manner, I try to note that by stating the number of times Iíve seen it mentioned. As the press release on the report mentions the report searches for common threads found throughout the value chain, this is one of the ways those threads are illustrated.
The second part of our report is commentary from FPI staff on the trends we are seeing. Lynn and I spend a lot of time looking at different parts of the foodservice packaging industry. So, while we do take a look at the comments mentioned in part one of the report, itís really more comprehensive than just that. We see products that have been submitted in Packaging Innovations & Insights, we read trade publications, we co-host the QSR/FPI Packaging Awards competition and even discover things through regular conversations with members and non-members throughout the supply chain. So, we see and hear a lot. The commentary included in the report allows us a forum to share some of what weíve seen and heard over the past year with our readers.
The full report is available to our membership at no cost. We allow non-members to purchase the report for a fee. As I mentioned above, we also send out a press release and this year, for the first time, plan to offer an executive summary to anyone who is interested. For more information, you can always contact me or take a peek at FPIís website Ė we have lots of good stuff there!