Packaging Insider by Packaging Innovations & Empack: Growing trends and challenges in foodservice packaging
The foodservice packaging domain is far-reaching, from manufacturing, sourcing, and distribution to usage and disposal; as such, Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) members are leading stakeholders from across the foodservice packaging supply chain who collectively possess a vast depth of knowledge and expertise.
With sustainability at the forefront of foodservice packaging innovation, FPA members such as Biopak, Coveris, Futamura and Novamont, drive the sustainability agenda, setting the bar high for standards in sustainability. In a recent interview, FPA Executive Director, Martin Kersh, said, “Our members do not make environmental claims they cannot support, they are aware of the issues and keep themselves informed. They are careful not to mislead their customers. They ensure that their claims are within the spirit of the Competitions and Markets Authority Green Claims Code and have evidence to back them up. Where certification is required, it will be there.” He added, “It may sound bullish to say so, but I’m proud that our members are exemplary in their sustainability claims.”
Many recent advancements in foodservice packaging are driven by the growing demand for supply chain efficiency, with several foodservice companies introducing cloud-based supply chain technologies. Developers claim the state-of-the-art technology will support customers with the current labour shortage and supply chain disruptions through easy order entry and reporting. Cloud-based technology is likely to appeal to technophiles because of its smart ability to be continually developed and updated, but also to technophobes nervous about new technology due to its ease of use.
In addition to supply chain technology, supply chain traceability has become standard practice. Foodservice packaging providers must ensure compliance with corporate and government regulations, such as verifiable and responsible resourcing and ethical manufacturing codes of conduct, to accredited sustainable pack designs with recyclability, reusability or compostability in mind.
Foodservice packaging is consumed across a wide variety of locations and a growing trend is for closed-loop environments, where recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging waste can be collected and well-managed within the confines of the event or organisation. Certified compostable packaging is a popular choice in closed-loop environments as it can be safely collected and processed along with food waste, thus reducing contamination from other non-compostable materials and maximising the quality of the resulting compost.
Other foodservice items with complex functional needs are hot and cold, ready-to-serve, home delivery or takeaway packs. According to Martin Kersh, home delivery packaging is “required to contain, transport and present food to the customer in the same condition as you would expect eating in.” He said, “Recognising different food types is key and each has its specific requirements. Therefore, producers are challenged to select the most functional material type that is fit for purpose, considering factors such as food safety, product protection and how it can be disposed of after use as well as appearance, temperature, prevention of leakages and spill and retaining elements such as crispness and the deliciousness of the food.”
Visitors to Packaging Innovations and Empack, Birmingham NEC, on the 15th and 16th of February 2023, can drop by the new dedicated Foodservice Packaging Zone, where FPA members will come together to showcase their latest innovations. In addition, there will be dedicated foodservice-focused sessions that will feature key foodservice brands and trends.
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