The Foodservice Packaging Institute, Fall Church, Va., released its 2019 State of the Industry Survey, which shows steady industry volume and profit growth continuing into the remainder of the year.

The survey includes input from raw material and machinery suppliers, converters and foodservice distributors and operators, and looks at industry issues, such as changes to volume and profits, expansion and purchasing plans and opportunities and challenges facing the industry.

“Every year, we ask folks in the industry, both members and non-members, to share their thoughts and insights on issues that matter most to the foodservice packaging industry,” says Lynn Dyer, president. “Based on the feedback of nearly 90 organizations, the 2019 State of the Industry Survey predicts another positive year for the foodservice packaging industry, despite increasing environmental concerns.”

One of the most notable results is the optimistic outlook for industry growth. Compared with 2018, over 75% of foodservice packaging manufacturers and suppliers expect volume expansion and more than 65% expect profit growth in 2019.

On the topic of market expansions, respondents overwhelmingly view the fast-casual sector as the greatest area for opportunity. This is due to the increased number of fast-casual options, quality food offerings and value to customers. Areas such as supermarket/grocery stores and delivery services are also noted as opportunities for market expansion because of the ability to grab products on-the-go or have them delivered. Respondents also view convenience stores as an area of expansion, as they try to compete with quick-serve restaurants and become an eating destination.

The positive indicators for growth in 2019 include over 60% of the North American manufacturers planning corporate expansion through construction of new facilities, expansion of current facilities and mergers and acquisitions, and more than 75% of North American converters who plan to purchase machinery in 2019.

The survey results also identified five common challenges facing the industry, including:

  1. Public perception of packaging or foodservice packaging as “waste.”
  2. Lack of qualified labor.
  3. Recovery/end-of-life options for foodservice packaging.
  4. Increasing government legislation/regulation.
  5. Environmental activism.

“We are excited by the growth and positive outlook within our industry, despite some of the challenges we face. It’s encouraging to see the optimism within our industry,” says Dyer.