23rd Annual Industry Report Reveals Confidence Amid Lingering Effects of Pandemic

The Foodservice Packaging Institute’s 2022 State of the Industry Report reveals that more than 80% of foodservice packaging manufacturers and suppliers experienced growth in volume. About 30% of respondents reported profit growth, a decrease compared with 40% of respondents in 2021.

The 23rd State of the Industry Report includes input from raw material and machinery suppliers, converters, and foodservice distributors and operators. The survey looks at industry issues, such as changes to volume and profits; expansion and purchasing plans; and opportunities and challenges facing the industry, including COVID-19’s ongoing effect.

“As we continue to crawl out from COVID-19’s impact, this year’s State of the Industry Report asks both members and non-members in the industry, to share their thoughts and insights on issues that matter most to the foodservice packaging industry. Responses indicate confidence in the industry with signs of growth in both volume and profit,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. “Based on the feedback of more than 47 organizations, the 2022 State of the Industry Report predicts a positive year for the foodservice packaging industry as we learn best practices from our experiences dealing with the pandemic and its aftermath.”

In an encouraging sign, 72% of respondents expect volume expansion and 58% expect profit growth this year. Foodservice operators who responded saw increased sales, as we move past pandemic closures and continue to see the relevance of delivery and takeout.

In the same split as in 2021, 50% of the North American manufacturer respondents reported another year of corporate expansion plans through construction of new facilities, expansion of current facilities, and mergers and acquisitions. Up from last year, 93% of North American converter respondents plan to purchase machinery in 2021.

Respondents continue to view the fast casual sector as the greatest area for market expansion. While fast casual has been seen as an area of growth in past surveys, this year’s speculation is due largely to COVID-19 and post-pandemic health and safety concerns, as continued use of take-out is expected. “It is also possible that this continuation is due to consumer habits formed during the pandemic or benefits of ordering through restaurant apps,” Dempsey adds.

Other areas, such as grocery stores and convenience stores, are also 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.

Grant Funding Available to Foam Recycling Programs

For the eighth year, the Foam Recycling Coalition opened its grant process seeking applicants looking to start or strengthen a post-consumer foam polystyrene recycling program. The coalition, part of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, leads this initiative helping to fund infrastructure for the collection, processing and marketing of products made from foam polystyrene.

“By offering this grant, we are helping to expand the recycling of a material instead of it going to the landfill. Foam polystyrene can be recycled into products like crown molding and picture frames. However, certain equipment may be needed to recycle foam cost-effectively,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. “The Foam Recycling Coalition utilizes partnerships and investments to help communities and recycling businesses in the U.S. and Canada purchase that equipment to expand their programs and include foam polystyrene.”

Foam polystyrene products include foodservice packaging (i.e., cups, plates, bowls, clamshells and cafeteria trays) and other types of packaging (i.e., egg cartons, meat trays and protective packaging used when shipping electronics and other fragile items).

Both public and private organizations involved in managing residential drop-off and curbside recycling programs or material recovery facilities are eligible to apply for funding of up to $50,000 for each grant. Grant amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis dependent upon equipment needs. Although no cash match is required, additional costs may be incurred by the grantee for related items, such as site preparation, provision of conveying system, electrical infrastructure, freight and other installation costs.

The grant program is made possible through contributions to the Foam Recycling Coalition, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics; Chick-fil-A; CKF Inc.; Dart Container Corp.; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; Pactiv Evergreen; and Republic Plastics.


Since 2015, the Foam Recycling Coalition has awarded 23 grants totaling over $850,000. As a result, over 6 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam. A list of past grantees and a link to download the grant application can be found at https://www.recyclefoam.org/grants.

Applications must be submitted by Friday, April 29, 2022, for priority consideration. The Foam Recycling Coalition will announce grant recipients throughout the year.

New White Paper Examines the State of Paper Cup Recycling

Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) is pleased to announce the recent publication of a new white paper entitled The State of Paper Cup Recycling. This comprehensive paper examines the evolving landscape of paper cup recovery efforts including recycling challenges, technical aspects of material sorting and processing, and end markets utilizing recovered cups.

“Paper cups can be recycled when there are three elements present: demand from an end market buyer; proper sorting at the material recovery facility (MRF); and public education to recycle cups through residential programs,” said Natha Dempsey, president of FPI. “Increasingly, these factors are coming together to create recovery pathways for paper cups. The new white paper, The State of Paper Cup Recycling, provides an in-depth analysis of where we are and where we are headed.”

Authored by Moore & Associates, this comprehensive paper delves into the evolving landscape of paper cup recovery efforts including recycling challenges, technical aspects of material sorting and processing, and end markets utilizing recovered cups.

Today, 28 North American mills and five domestic end markets accept paper cups for recycling, which is 75% of mixed paper demand in the U.S. and Canada.

“Very few mills accepted paper cups prior to 2018, and many recycling programs explicitly excluded them,” said Bill Moore, president of Moore & Associates. “However, through research, testing and education, more North American mills are accepting paper cups as they are a good source of high quality solid bleached sulfate (SBS) white fibers similar to other paper-based polycoated food packaging, like ice cream tubs.”

The white paper also provides a deeper look at the sorting flow of paper cups in MRFs, describes the processing aspects of polycoated paper cups, addresses concerns surrounding paper cup recyclability, and contains helpful references including MRF case studies and lists of end markets and brokers who trade in recovered fiber bales containing paper cups.

Since 2011, FPI has been bringing together an alliance of restaurants, foodservice packaging industry leaders and recycling experts to better understand how the paper cup could become more widely recycled. Recently, FPI worked with a group of paper mills and end markets who signed a declaration of acceptance and a commitment to increase end market acceptance of paper cups. Additionally, FPI’s Community Partnership Program has helped 15 recycling programs, with a collective total of approximately 4 million households, successfully add paper cups to their accepted materials lists.

The State of Paper Cup Recycling is available for free download on FPI’s website: The State of Paper Cup Recycling.

FPI will host a webinar on March 3, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. ET. focusing on the increasing acceptance of paper cups as seen from the perspectives of industry representatives along the value chain. For more information on the webinar and to register, visit: The State of Paper Cup Recycling Webinar.

Binghampton Development Corporation Expands CHaRM Facility to Accept Foam

Binghampton Development Corporation, a non-profit community development corporation located in Memphis, Tennessee, has received a $50,000 grant from the Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Foam Recycling Coalition to add a foam densifier to its current Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) facility.

Over the last 18 years, the Binghampton Development Corporation has pursued revitalizing the historic Binghampton neighborhood of Memphis through housing and economic development as well as empowerment programs for those in poverty. The organization has cultivated revenue generating programs that focus on employing and educating new skills to neighborhood workers. Their latest endeavor, which began in fall 2021, is a development partnership to start recycling hard-to-recycle items that are currently contributing to the blight for many Memphis neighborhoods.

New recycling operations will assist in cleaning up neighborhoods for over 350,000 households and bring recycling services to the metro area’s 1.3 million residents. The first phase of the recycling program will begin with tire recycling, with future phases including disassembling and recycling old streetlights and recycling mattresses. These programs are expected to provide job training while recycling materials, including aluminum, copper, plastic, glass, steel and soon, foam polystyrene.

Foam Recycling Coalition funding allows the organization to purchase and install a high-capacity densifier unit to better manage its foam recycling collection at its facility. The densifier will allow the facility to accept foam materials, such as foodservice packaging, post-consumer foam packaging and padding, and production scrap from local businesses and residents.

“Memphis consumers currently do not have an option to recycle foam. With help from the Foam Recycling Coalition’s generous $50,000 grant, this new program gives us the opportunity to provide a service for this need from residents and small businesses,” says Andy Kizzee, business hub director of the Binghamton Development Corporation.

“Binghampton Development Corporation is doing incredible work to promote job training and material recovery that impacts neighborhoods in the greater Memphis area. The organization is providing the necessary services to recycle clean and empty foam packaging that is generated by residents and businesses,” says Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which oversees the Foam Recycling Coalition. “It sets a great example of how one organization can expand its current programming and operations and educate residents as the capability to recycle foam polystyrene continues to increase across North America.”

The grant is made possible through contributions to the Foam Recycling Coalition, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics; CKF Inc.; Chick-fil-A; Dart Container Corp.; Dolco Packaging, Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; Pactiv Evergreen; Republic Plastics.

Binghampton Development Corporation is the 22nd grant recipient to receive this funding since 2015. Over 6 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of Foam Recycling Coalition grants. Visit www.RecycleFoam.org to learn about foam recycling, read about previous recipients, or apply for a grant.