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22nd Annual Industry Report Indicates Some Growth Despite Pandemic
Released 4/14/2021

The Foodservice Packaging Institute’s 2021 State of the Industry Survey reveals that more than one-third of foodservice packaging manufacturers and suppliers experienced growth in volume while nearly one-quarter remained at the same level. Forty percent of respondents reported profit growth, a slight decrease compared with 45% of respondents in 2019, the last time the survey was released.

The 22nd State of the Industry Survey includes input from raw material and machinery suppliers, converters, and foodservice distributors and operators. The survey looks at industry issues, such as changes to volume and profits; expansion and purchasing plans; and opportunities and challenges facing the industry, including COVID-19’s impact.

“In 2020, when the world landscape was turned upside down, we determined that an industry report would not reflect the tremendous upheaval that we were experiencing. We are happy to be back this year with our annual survey which asks people in the industry, both members and non-members, to share their thoughts and insights on issues that matter most to the foodservice packaging industry,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. “Based on the feedback of nearly 80 organizations, the 2021 State of the Industry Survey predicts a positive year for the foodservice packaging industry, despite the pandemic.”

In a sign of optimism, 84% of respondents expect volume expansion and 72% expect profit growth this year. Foodservice operators who responded saw decreased sales, but were overwhelmingly optimistic that this trend would reverse in 2021.

In an interesting split, 50% of the North American manufacturer respondents reported another year of corporate expansion plans through construction of new facilities, expansion of current facilities, and mergers and acquisitions. Similar to previous years, 80% of North American converter respondents plan to purchase machinery in 2021.

Respondents continue to view the fast casual and quick service sectors as the greatest areas for market expansion. This is due largely to COVID-19 and post-pandemic health and safety concerns as continued use of take-out is expected. Areas, such as grocery stores and convenience stores, are also noted as opportunities for market expansion because of increased foodservice solutions and the popularity of being able to purchase products to eat at home.

“We are encouraged by the positive outlook within our industry, despite the challenges we face, and continue to face, with the coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions,” adds Dempsey.

FPI members and contributing participants received complete survey results. A complimentary executive summary of the report is available at www.fpi.org/resources. For more information, contact FPI’s Ashley Elzinga at aelzinga@fpi.org.

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