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Top Trends in 2013

Every year, we survey the foodservice packaging supply chain to get their take on trends impacting the industry. We ask about trends they see in foodservice packaging; the raw materials used to make foodservice packaging; the machinery used to convert foodservice packaging; in foodservice distribution; and foodservice operations. The responses are included in FPI’s annual “Trends Report,” along with the FPI staff’s own observations.


We can pretty much boil this year's trends down into three main buckets:


Trend #1: Cups, cups, cups. Foodservice operators are turning to new and expanded beverage options to boost their bottom lines. That means paying more attention to beverage packaging. Polystyrene foam and single-wall paper cups have long dominated, but competition is growing in both the hot and cold beverage container categories. New product usage includes insulated double-wall paper cups, as well as insulated plastic cups made from polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). And watch out for increased use of recycled content in both paper and plastic cups.


Trend #2:  Paper or Plastic?  It's not that simple anymore (and that's a good thing).  With advances in research and development, new technologies, price fluctuations, environmental pressuers and the increased supply of recycled materials, more material options exist in foodservice packaging than ever before.  Each of these new materials provides their own benefits and allows for healthy competition within the industry.  Let's just hope that unwanted government intervention can be kept at bay, allowing foodservice operators to select what works best for their business and their customers.


Trend #3: Size matters.  Size continues to play a large role in the market, with smaller single-serve items trending in restaurants.  The top reasons include nutritional purposes, cost-cutting measures, gaining non-traditional day parts and catering to a growing consumer base that tends to "graze" throughout the day.  Packaging plays an increasingly important role in supporting menu trends and consumer demands due to more competition and growth in the grab 'n go category, stronger interest from convenience stores and distribution channel changes.


We’re also happy to share a few of the more thought-provoking quotes that really resonated with us from this year’s survey: 


“Foodservice brand owners are realizing that consumers relate the quality of the food to the quality of the packaging. This has driven them to be more conscious of packaging material selections.”


“Trends that we are witnessing within the industry remain very consistent in several ways which would include softer sales, increased competition, need for innovation. The emerging trends that we see are how people are trying to offset these challenges. … Additionally, better food products, better packaging, with the understanding that spending a little bit of money will help them differentiate their brands. We are seeing this specifically within the limited service restaurants category within menu items including sandwiches, salads, specialty coffee.”


“More of an emphasis placed on the role of packaging in general. Operators basically expect more from their packaging, whether it is unique functionality, aesthetics, ability to customize, or environmental benefits.”


“Reduction in food waste by using better packaging will be more and more the goal. “


“More and more manufacturers now offer ‘green’ packaging. Many customers ask, as they would like to be more environmentally minded – but price and function still drive their decisions.” 

“Green is good, local is green, money is green."

“More environmental responsibility in everything. Packaging. Buying local. Reduced footprint.”


Want to know more about what responders had to say?  Here's what they said...



If you're an FPI member, we'd be happy to send you the full report.  Not a member?  Consider joining!










Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 12/10/2013 8:32:06 AM