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Trends, Innovations and Forecasts: Highlights from FPIís Fall Meeting

For those of you that attended FPIís Fall Meeting last week, so glad you could join us. And there were many of you Ė it was one of FPIís largest Fall Meetings with over 90 in attendance thanks to FPIís growing membership. For those of you who could not, you missed a terrific meeting Ė one of our best, according to several attendees. Itís always rewarding to hear positive feedback from our members.


In thinking about the highlights, Iím not sure if it was the quality and content of the speakers, or perhaps our evening at Graceland to celebrate the winners of the QSR/FPI Foodservice Packaging Awards that I Ė and hopefully our members Ė appreciated the most. Letís consider the speakersÖ


The first session focused on "Trends and Innovations in Foodservice and Packaging," which included presentations by Sam Oches, editor at QSR magazine, and David Luttenberger, vice president and packaging strategist at CEB Iconoculture. Sam shared his "13 Trends That Are Pretty Much Changing Everything," which gave attendees plenty of food (literally) for thought. Davidís main message focused on the importance of consumer engagement in the development process to ensure successful packaging innovation and branding. His take-home quote was "if you can deliver packaging that the consumer perceives as adding value to their life or use experience, that engages them on an emotional level, rather than just putting a 'cool' package in front of them, the opportunity to earn and build trust Ė and, ultimately, create an emotional connection with that consumer, is what will earn you repeat business."


With that backdrop, we brought in a panel of supply chain partners to discuss their thoughts on trends and innovations. Panelists included:


- Mike Fox, Packaging Technologist, R&D, Subway;

- Matthew Kurzynski, Purchasing Manager, Independent Purchasing Cooperative;

- Daryn Ogilvie, Purchasing Manager, Paper & Packaging, Chipotle Mexican Grill;

- Keith Rosenthal, Senior Vice President Purchasing & Product Development, Bojangles' Restaurants, Inc.; and

- Jeffrey Way, Senior Director - Chemical & Disposables, SYSCO Corporation.


Hope those of you in the audience are already working on the ďwish listĒ they provided for future foodservice packaging!


The topic for the second session was "Foretelling the Future in Foodservice and the Economy." Hudson Riehle, senior vice president with the National Restaurant Association, provided enough data to make your head spin, all to showcase the current state and very healthy future for the foodservice industry in North America. Especially interesting were the "growth opportunities" he presented as well as information he shared on operators' plans for "tweaking takeout packaging." As always, it was great to have Hudson joins us. Rounding out the meeting was a surprisingly uplifting Ė and yes, entertaining Ė James Paulsen, who is a chief investment strategist at Wells Fargo. He was quite optimistic about the economy, highlighting the positive effect consumer (and business) confidence can have. In fact, he argued that rising confidence is the biggest stimulant to the economy. Letís hope heís correct and that weíre "geared up" for positive growth in the future.


[Members are reminded that copies of Samís and Hudsonís slides are available here. Unfortunately, Davidís and Jimís are not available.]


But all work and no play, as they sayÖ Attendees were rewarded with a private tour of Elvis Presleyís Graceland, followed by a reception and dinner set among his beloved cars in the Car Museum. Once attendees were done drooling over the cars and the barbeque, the winners of the 2013 QSR/FPI Foodservice Packaging Awards were announced. But what happens in Memphis stays in Memphis, at least until QSR publishes its November edition!


So, a successful celebration of the trends and innovations, a look into the future and as always, a great opportunity to bring the growing FPI family together. Hope to see you at FPIís next meeting, April 30-May 2 in sunny southern California.


Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 10/15/2013 12:59:18 PM