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Innovative. Customizable. Compostable. These were three of the trends that Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI), expected to see from the QSR/FPI Foodservice Packaging Awards, which will be presented at FPI’s fall meeting in St. Louis.
Historically overlooked in favor of other business considerations like food preparation and POS systems, packaging is no less vital to an operation.
“All too often, the operators don’t think about the packaging until they develop an all-new item,” Dyer says. “We’re really here to help them.”
She also encourages restaurants to take advantage of FPI’s resources, as membership is free for all foodservice operators. Since the institute covers 85–95 percent of all food packaging in North America, it can help restaurants find partners and solutions to match their needs.
Dyer says she’s seen a larger shift in the industry toward compostable packaging. “One of the biggest long-term trends is interest in green or sustainable or environmentally friendly packaging. I think we’ll continue to see more. I think that the operators are interested in that,” she says.
Restaurants are increasingly interested in making sure their packaging is either recyclable or compostable, Dyer says. And because more operators are recovering and composting food waste, they are similarly interested in creating receptacles that are compostable—not to be confused with “biodegradable,” which is a more nebulous term, she adds.
Restaurants are also seeking more customized packaging, which Dyer says could be partially due to the Millennial generation and its penchant for individualization.
“We see more and more attention being paid to the packaging itself and operators recognizing that the packaging is an extension of their brand,” Dyer says. “They’re looking for more customized packaging, whether it’s the colors or the shapes or the sizes or whatever it happens to be. It’s no longer one size fits all.”
Aside from these larger trends, Dyer was especially curious to see submissions in the 2015 QSR/FPI Foodservice Packaging Awards.
“The Packaging Awards is always a very exciting time for us,” Dyer says. “It will be interesting to see what pops up.”
Interesting indeed. Read on for the best of what was submitted.