New Report Identifies Trends that Drive Sales in the Foodservice Packaging Supply Chain

Foodservice Packaging Institute’s 2015 Trends Report shows overarching themes of sustainability, customization across the supply chain.

The Foodservice Packaging Institute’s 2015 Trends Report searches for common threads found throughout the entire foodservice packaging value chain — from raw material suppliers, packaging manufacturers, distributors and operators. This year’s report, a result of FPI’s annual Trends Survey, highlighted industry opinions that largely focused on environmentally friendly packaging and customization techniques to differentiate products.

“When it comes to foodservice packaging and the materials used to manufacture them, interest in “sustainable,” “green” or “environmentally-friendly” options continue to be popular. What’s notable this year is the overwhelming number of mentions related to compostable packaging,” said Lynn Dyer, FPI’s president. “We create this Trends Report each year to help our members understand what’s driving sales so they can take advantage of these opportunities and support the changing needs of their customers.”

Major trends include:

  • Packaging: Environmentally friendly or sustainable packaging remains a long-term overall trend. Specifically, compostable packaging was mentioned in an overwhelming number of responses. Other trends include the shift to a more natural look through the use of “Kraft” paper over bleached paper to promote the belief that “brown is the new green.” Conversely, another trend of note includes an increase in graphics and color as operators recognize the opportunity to promote their brand on packaging
  • Raw materials: “Green” packaging is apparent in raw materials, as different resins and papers are trending based on both the real and perceived environmental advantages of those materials.
  • Machinery: In the machinery used to manufacture foodservice packaging, the desire for highly automated machines that run faster, more efficiently and at lower costs continues — but with little innovation in the industry.
  • Distribution: Consolidation remains a major trend in foodservice distribution (despite the halted merger of the two largest foodservice distributors), along with SKU rationalization and increased competition from small- and medium-sized distributors.
  • Operations: In a continued effort to stand out and differentiate themselves from competitors, foodservice operators are increasingly choosing customized food and beverage items, as well as their associated packaging. Other major trends include increased breakfast business, “grab and go” items and smaller portion sizes that reflect the consumer snacking trend.

The survey was distributed in September, collecting opinions from companies in the raw materials, machinery, packaging, distribution and operations sectors.


Founded in 1933, the Foodservice Packaging Institute is the leading authority for the North American foodservice packaging industry. FPI encourages the responsible use of all foodservice packaging through promotion of its benefits and members’ products. Serving as the voice of the industry to educate and influence stakeholders, FPI provides a legal forum to address the challenges and opportunities facing the foodservice packaging industry. Members include foodservice packaging manufacturers and their raw material and machinery suppliers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, distributors and nearly 50 school districts, colleges and universities. Learn more at

More in Facility