QSR magazine and the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) are once again renewing their partnership to honor worthy companies with the Foodservice Packaging Awards. 

The competition recognizes single-use foodservice packaging in these categories (click the link to nominate your company): 

Excellence in Brand Delivery

Excellence in New Menu Launch

Innovation in Convenience

Innovation in Manufacturing

The “Wow” Factor

There will also be an overall winner named “Foodservice Package of the Year.” Winners will be presented with their awards at the FPI’s Fall Conference in Pittsburgh on October 26-27, 2023, and will be featured in QSR magazine’s November 2023 issue.

All entries are due no later than August 28, 2023.

CLICK HERE to learn more about general criteria, judging, and rules and guidelines.

QSR magazine recently spoke with FPI president Natha Dempsey and director of sustainability and outreach Ashley Elzinga to gain more insight about the awards program and what they’ve seen in the industry overall. 

Can you share some insights into the Foodservice Packaging Awards and describe its mission? 

The awards were created more than 20 years ago as a collaboration between the Foodservice Packaging Institute and QSR magazine with the intention of recognizing excellence, innovation and design of packaging in the foodservice space. The versatility and needs required for packaging serving prepared food and beverages are unique and these awards have gone a long way to honor that. 

Can you explain the evaluation criteria for these awards? 

Depending on the award category, the evaluation for entries includes everything from aesthetics to manufacturing design to performance claims. For example,  is the package visually appealing or does it have great tactility? Does the packaging do what the application claims it can? If the claim is the package keeps french fries hot and crispy for more than 20 minutes or ice cream frozen on a hot day for an hour – it’s going to be put to the test. All that to say it must not only look great but perform too – just like foodservice operators need it to. 

In what ways has packaging changed during the pandemic? 

During and in the aftermath of the pandemic, more tamper-evident/tamper-resistant packaging has appeared. Not just because of the pandemic, but also the rise of delivery and take-out in foodservice. Speaking of, we have also seen a larger desire for packaging in general that can withstand the delivery and takeout experience. This can be anything from stackable containers and utilization of space within a takeout bag to versatility in use of specific packaging items. For example, can it be used for both hot items and cold? 

What are some big trends to keep in mind for the years ahead? 

Well, one of the reasons why we love the Foodservice Packaging Awards so much is the chance to get a sneak peek at what’s coming. New and innovative packaging types are regularly submitted. Often the award winners are the first of their kind, ushering in new packaging for the industry. The classic example for me would be one of our Foodservice Package of the Year winners now many years back – it was the first sealable tamper resistant bag we had seen in the market. Now, we have many variations of that product available. 

What are the most notable opportunities and challenges in packaging? 

Opportunities are being driven by the challenges we see in foodservice. As mentioned prior with the rise of off premises experiences in foodservice (i.e., takeout and delivery), the challenge of keeping food items as close to restaurant quality as possible has become a harder thing. No longer is this a few seconds across the counter on a tray to a customer, it can be an hour in a delivery setting or shelf time before a customer picks up their order. For those packaging designers and manufacturers who can help foodservice operators meet these needs, there are great opportunities.

What impact do you think winning a Foodservice Packaging Award has on a business in terms of reputation, recognition, and market standing? 

We can’t say with 100 percent certainty what the impact of winning truly has on a business, but we can share that those who have won a Foodservice Packaging Award have displayed an immense amount of excitement. The ability to recognize all the time and effort that goes into the development of new foodservice packaging is extremely rewarding for us as the trade association behind the industry. We know many of our past award winners display their awards at their facilities and speak of the recognition with pride.

Restaurant Operations, Story