Industry News | September 30, 2010

KFC Packaging Goes Green

KFC restaurants across the country are introducing what’s believed to be the fast food industry’s first consumer-reusable food container, and people are taking note. The container was recently honored as a winner in the 2010 Greener Package Awards. Initially introduced in five markets beginning in May of this year, plans call for them to be available nationally at KFC restaurants by early 2011.

“Through research, we found that consumers prefer reusable containers because it gives them control of how the item is reused or disposed of after purchase,” says Susan Miles, KFC engineering manager. “Our research also showed that 60 percent of consumers keep a reusable container for at least six weeks.”

The introduction of the container is just one element of a larger packaging initiative the country’s largest chicken restaurant chain is undertaking. Paper serving boxes are also replacing plastic plates as part of KFC’s plan to reduce its use of nonrenewable resources and to eventually eliminate foam packaging from its restaurants.

“We believe this is the first meaningful introduction of reusable food containers in the fast food industry. By the end of this year, KFC U.S. will reduce foam packaging use by 62 percent and reduce total plastic use by 17 percent,” says Megan Isaac, senior marketing manager for KFC. “We appreciate our customers’ passion for doing their part to help us meet our ‘Reuse, Renew, Rejoice’ goals.”

In addition to introducing new, greener packaging options, KFC is also introducing a new website to tell the “Reuse, Renew, Rejoice” story. Those interested in learning more about KFC’s current and future packaging initiatives—from reusable side containers to the replacement of plastic plates—can visit the site at www.kfc.com/packaging.

The award-winning side container features a clear bowl with a red lid embossed with a “reusable” message, as well as a reminder that the container is both microwaveable and top rack dishwasher safe. Not as visible, but equally important is a patented “ventless vent” technology that enhances product quality by allowing moisture to escape without the need for a hole in the lid. The result is a leak-resistant lid that provides a secure fit and keeps food fresh. The combination of features impressed the judges who bestowed the Greener Package Award on KFC.

The container is made of 100 percent polypropylene, the same material used to make leading retail food storage containers. The primary supplier for the project is St. Louis-based Anchor Packaging, the leading manufacturer of polypropylene containers.