The resurgence of the environmental movement has caused an upswing in the demand for environmentally friendly packaging, finds a new Trends Report from the Foodservice Packaging Institute.

FPI’s 2009 Trends Report contains two sections: information from FPI members on what they think are trends in four key areas and a report from FPI on what it believes the top three trends in foodservice packaging are.

The FPI analysis is based on members’ submissions as well as product debuts in FPI’s Packaging Innovations and Insights newsletter and other general observations.

According to the report, green packaging has garnered its place in the foodservice industry and demand is likely to grow as the national green movement and legislative changes continue to affect the foodservice packaging industry.

The report says new alternative materials like biopolymers, starches, and nontree cellulose (such as sugarcane and bamboo) have entered the market touting biodegradable and/or compostable benefits.

But the report also contends that changes to traditional materials used to make foodservice packaging are making materials such as paper, plastic, and aluminum more green because of increased use of post-consumer recycled content and source reduction.

Another material shift is a move from plastics in general to paper packaging. And in the plastics market, polypropylene and polyethylene are gaining market share at the expense of polystyrene, the long-dominant material in plastic foodservice packaging.

The report also touched on trends relating to the foodservice industry. It found that foodservice operators are offering lower-priced items to lure cash-strapped consumers into their operations. Operators are creating new sales opportunities by tapping into the foodservice trends of snacking and smaller portions. The report also found that consolidation within the distribution community and the use of online bidding are helping to control costs and achieve low prices.

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