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Sustainability and Sun in SoCal: FPI’s Spring Meeting

Hard to believe that one week ago we were out in sunny SoCal for FPI’s 81st Spring Meeting. Not sure if it was the terrific turnout (with representatives from over 40 foodservice packaging converter and supplier companies in attendance), the speakers or the weather, but it was a great meeting.

The meeting was heavy on “sustainability” content, which seems appropriate given the importance of that topic in our industry, plus the location (yes, the Left Coast). Thursday morning’s session focused on designing for sustainability, with presentations by Anne Bedarf of Green Blue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Jennifer McCracken of HAVI Global Solutions. Anne really hit home the importance of taking into account the whole recovery system (all the way through to the consumer) when designing packaging, and Jennifer shared why designing sustainability into foodservice packaging was so important and the various elements HAVI looks to from its packaging suppliers.

They were followed by a thought-provoking panel of foodservice operators and distributors, including Jeremy Brofford from Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Co-Op, Doug Kyle of Bunzl R3 Redistribution, Yvonne Macon from University of California San Diego and Matt Voigt with Taco Bell. It was great to get their various perspectives on how they design and select foodservice packaging with sustainability in mind – and especially hear their “wish lists” for the foodservice packaging industry.

Friday morning’s session also had an environmental slant, as FPI invited representatives from a number of California-based groups to learn more about them and hear their opinions about our products. Speakers included Conrad MacKerron from As You Sow, Lynn France representing the California Product Stewardship Council, Rick Anthony representing California Resource Recovery Association and Mark Murray from Californians Against Waste. FPI members very much appreciated the speakers’ candor on important topics related to package design, recovery and marine debris. While the speakers made it clear our industry has work to do in these critical areas, it was also just as clear that FPI has work to do to make sure these organizations and others understand how we’re addressing challenges for our industry (please check out FPI’s Stewardship section for more details). Personally, I very much look forward to continued dialogue and potential future collaboration with these influential organizations.

[A special note for FPI members: copies of the presentations from this meeting (and previous meetings) may be found here.]

BUT, if you think we were all work and no play – especially with the fantastic weather we were treated to after our horrific winter – you would be off base. Given that attendees at FPI’s meetings include supply chain partners from raw material and machinery suppliers to converters to distributors to operators, we always include time to network and catch up with friends.  Certainly fun was had during FPI’s golf tournament as well as the various meal functions. Perhaps a highlight was Thursday evening’s reception and dinner, during which we welcomed former FPI President John Burke and his lovely wife, Candace (they retired to SoCal in 2010), and congratulated FPI member Rhonda Killen of CKF and her fiancé, Mark Sanders, who were getting married the following day!

I seem to say this after every meeting, but not sure how we can top this meeting. But we will certainly try, October 22-23 in Baltimore at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel. Hope to see you there!

Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 5/6/2014 2:23:37 PM