• Report reveals 3 industry shifts in packaging

This year's Trends Report from the Foodservice Packaging Institute revealed three key industry shifts when it comes to packaging. Overall, environmental and economic pressures are creating a competitive landscape in which all supply chain partners ultimately benefit, said FPI President Lynn M. Dyer.

The top three trends are below:

It's all about the beverages – and their packaging: 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 and polyethylene terephthalate. Recycled content in both paper and plastic cups continues to grow rapidly, too.

Material expansion and contraction is taking place: Supply chain partners are considering the material options for foodservice packaging. With advances in research and development, new technologies, price fluctuations, environmental pressures and the increased supply of recycled materials, more material options exist in foodservice packaging than ever before. Increasing interest in composting and recycling of foodservice packaging are driving some material selections as well.

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.

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