Survey Says: Industry Remains Confident

This year, we published the 23rd annual State of the Industry Report. It’s wild to think about the journey our industry has been on over the last couple of years — let alone the past two decades. While we’re still dealing with lingering effects of the pandemic, there’s a lot of encouraging information coming from within the industry. As in years past, this report provides a valuable snapshot of the current foodservice packaging industry.

As we continue to crawl out from COVID-19’s impact, this year’s report predicts a positive year for the foodservice packaging industry. Best practices learned through experiences dealing with the pandemic and its aftermath has the industry feeling confident. More than 80% of foodservice packaging manufacturers and suppliers experienced growth in volume while roughly 30% of respondents reported profit growth, which is a slight decrease compared with 40% of respondents in 2021. Looking at 2022, 72% of the respondents expect volume expansion and 58% expect profit growth. Foodservice operators who responded saw increased sales in 2021 as we moved past pandemic closures while continuing to see the relevance of delivery and takeout.

As in 2021, 50% of the North American manufacturers reported another year of planned corporate expansion through construction of new facilities, expansion of current facilities, and mergers and acquisitions. Down from previous years, 80% of North American converter respondents plan to purchase machinery in 2022.

Respondents continue to view the fast casual and quick service sectors as the greatest area for market expansion. Fast casual ranks annually as an area of growth and this year is no different. Due largely to COVID-19 and post-pandemic health and safety concerns, continued use of take-out is expected, but could also be due to consumer habits formed during the pandemic of the benefits of ordering through restaurant apps.

Sectors like grocery stores and convenience stores continue to be noted as opportunities for market expansion because of increased foodservice solutions and the popularity of being able to purchase grab-and-go products to eat at home.

We’re looking forward to a year of continued improvement and optimism for our industry, and for everyone. It’s energizing to see growth despite challenges.

A huge thank you to the organizations that participated in this year’s survey. If you haven’t participated before, but are eligible (raw material or machinery supplier, converter, foodservice operator or foodservice distributor), please consider participating next year. We recognize that it’s a time commitment on your end, but your responses make the survey results even more meaningful. If you’d like more information or would like to be on our list for next year, let us know.