According to the annual Foodservice Packaging Institute "State of the Industry Survey," food packaging companies could see some growth—most foodservice packaging manufacturers in North America predict higher sales volumes and higher profits over the course of the rest of the year [ref]http://www.packworld.com/applications/food/optimism-foodservice-packaging-sector[/ref] That doesn't mean things are perfect, though, as manufacturers in both North America and Europe face hurdles to realizing this growth, as described in this survey. When confronted with data like this, you have to ask yourself: How can we improve our packaging solutions?
Many packaging companies that responded to the FPI survey replied with similar answers, particularly when it came to acknowledging challenges in the foodservice packaging industry. For example, one of the biggest challenges named was the general public perception that foodservice packaging is inherently wasteful.
This isn't a particularly new complaint, so it's one that we've been addressing at PI for years. While plastic packaging for foodservice is inherently disposable, it doesn't have to be inherently wasteful, which is why we invest in sustainable manufacturing processes, recycled and repurposed materials and efficient designs. According to the FPI survey, other manufacturers expect to work more with recycled materials in 2013.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Plastic packaging solutions for the foodservice industry come with unique challenges: withstanding freezing temperatures and high heat, surviving a trip through the microwave, staying in one piece upon impact, sealing and resealing, and many others. While we're not particularly surprised by some of the challenges noted in the FPI survey, here at PI, we've always found that anticipation is the best solution. If government regulation seems to be gravitating in a certain direction, start thinking about adapting before it passes. If you're worried that raw materials are too costly, find alternatives to raising your prices. Packaging companies need to adapt to the changing times and priorities of consumers.