The 10th annual Trends Report from the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI), Falls Church, Va., identified that the two greatest trends in foodservice packaging are the push-back on single-use products, regardless of material, and that delivery continues to be one of the biggest sales drivers for the foodservice industry.

“The results from this year’s trends report reflect the consumer climate. Leading this is the current drive against single-use products. This, of course, conflicts with the need for foodservice packaging to meet the increasing demand of foodservice establishments offering delivery services to its customers,” says Lynn Dyer, president.

Respondents say that delivery offerings have elevated the importance of single-use foodservice packaging. The reasons are three-fold. First, it keeps the hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Second, the package protects the food inside once in transport, leading to greater use of tamper-evident packs. Third, it creates an opportunity to promote a foodservice brand when the customer doesn’t interact with the brand itself, often using third-party apps to order.

Another top concern noted by respondents is market intervention. Whether through bans or tariffs on foodservice packaging, government intervention in the marketplace is a constant pressure point for the supply chain.

Respondents also say that there will be a greater reliance on e-commerce and technology. Foodservice distribution is increasingly moving from personal relationships with distribution sales representatives to online orders. Or, it involves cutting out the distributors altogether and relying on Internet vendors for foodservice packaging.

The survey collected opinions from companies throughout the foodservice packaging supply chain, including raw material and machinery suppliers, packaging manufacturers, distributors and operators.

 The first section of the report compiles direct comments and insights by industry players. The second section provides high-level trends in the foodservice packaging industry based on FPI staff analysis of member submissions, as well as FPI’s general industry observations and newsletter entries.