Jackass Burrito Wins Foodservice Package of the Year

The Foodservice Packaging Institute and QSR magazine’s 2021 Foodservice Packaging Awards competition named Jackass Burrito the winner of the Package of the Year honor. The company won for its unique and innovative paperboard burrito packaging and paper carryout bag manufactured by Commonwealth Packaging Company and designed by Triboro Design.

“Originality in foodservice packaging is always exciting to see. At its core, foodservice packaging success is based around the ability to perform the tasks required. Hot food needs to stay hot, cold food cold. Our entrants this year have demonstrated how innovation meets functionality,” said Natha Dempsey, president of FPI. “We want to congratulate Jackass Burrito and all entrants for providing exciting, forward-thinking packaging to its customers.”

In addition to winning top honors, Jackass Burrito earned first place in the Brand Delivery category. The company designed an appealing and functional multi-folding paperboard carton to protect its product and ensure it stays hot and intact. Judges thought the packaging cleverly included branding, functionality and convenience into its innovative design,. They were also impressed with the company’s bright and colorful paper carryout bag.

First place winners in the other categories include:

  • New Menu Launch: KFC for its Secret-Recipe Fries Carton manufactured by WestRock.
  • Innovation in Convenience: Inline Plastics for its SnackersTM line of containers.
  • Innovation in Manufacturing: Inline Plastics for its RebornTM line of containers.
  • The “Wow” Factor: Chicken Guy! Catering for its take-out carrier.

For nearly two decades, FPI and QSR have partnered in these bi-annual awards to recognize innovation in the foodservice packaging industry. Many of this year’s entries reflected growing trends in both the packaging and restaurant industries.

Award recipients were featured in the November issue of QSR magazine. A full listing of award winners may be found on QSR’s website.

Wyoming Recycling Center Expands Facility to Accept Foam Polystyrene

The Ray Lovato Recycling Center, a non-profit environmental organization in Rock Springs, Wyoming, received a $29,000 grant from the Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Foam Recycling Coalition to add a foam densifier to its current recycling center that recovers recyclable materials from residents and businesses within the area.

The recycling center, within the economic center of Southwest Wyoming, serves about 13,000 households and diverted nearly 1.72 million pounds of waste from the landfill in 2020. The non-profit organization not only has a goal of maximizing diversion of solid waste from its local landfill through unique recycling programs, but it has also made a mission to provide second chance employment to community individuals struggling with developmental disabilities, drug and alcohol addition, as well as veterans with PTSD. At its facility of over 6,000 square feet, materials accepted include corrugated cardboard, office paper, paperboard, newspaper, magazines, books, aluminum, tin and plastics.

This FRC funding allows the recycling center to purchase and install a foam densifier unit to begin processing foam products that will be collected at its drop off center from local businesses and residents. The densifier will allow the organization to collect many types of foam products including foam foodservice packaging and protective packaging.
“Our area is home to immense mineral resources employing a large portion of our private workforce. However, with not much large retailers in the area, our center has seen a significant amount of ecommerce packaging. The packaging along with food-grade foam products will provides our center a large diversion opportunity with the help of this new densifier,” said Devon Brubaker, board president of the Ray Lovato Recycling Center.

“The Ray Lovato Recycling Center is providing the necessary services to recycle clean and empty foam packaging that is generated by local businesses and residents,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which oversees FRC. “The center demonstrates how an organization can set an example with its own mission and continue to expand its operations after having success and seeing an opportunity to increase diversion from the landfill.”

The grant is made possible through contributions to FRC, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics; Cascades Canada ULC; CKF Inc.; Chick-fil-A; Dart Container Corp.; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; Hawaii’s Finest Products; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; NOVA Chemicals Corp.; Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging; Republic Plastics; and TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining USA.

Ray Lovato Recycling Center is the 21st grant recipient to receive FRC funding since 2015. Over 4 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of FRC grants. Visit www.RecycleFoam.org to learn about foam recycling, read about previous recipients, or apply for a grant

Norman, Oklahoma, Organization Expands Drop-off Foam Recycling Operations to Serve Over 140,000 Households

Churches Caring for Creation (CC4C), a mission-based environmental organization in Norman, Oklahoma, received a $23,000 grant from the Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) to add a foam densifier to its current operations and expand its reach in providing recycling collection events across the region.

“Churches Caring for Creation is providing the necessary services to recycle clean and empty foam packaging that is generated by residents in Norman,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which oversees FRC. “CC4C sets an excellent example of how one organization can provide an innovative solution to expand recycling operations to its residents as foam polystyrene recycling continues to increase across North America.”

To close gaps in collection for specific recyclable materials, CC4C used the grant funding to develop a new “Styro-Station” drop off program that brings foam recycling options to area residents. Currently serving nearly 50,000 households and operated solely by volunteers, two “Styro-Stations” are located at local churches in Norman and are open to the public for dropping off foam recycling. Materials accepted at the drop-off locations include foam cups, plates, clamshell take-out containers, meat trays, egg cartons, as well as coolers.

FRC funding allows CC4C to purchase and install a high-capacity densifier unit to better manage its drop-off foam collection material. With this new equipment, CC4C can expand its operations from two drop offs to providing collection events for an additional five neighboring towns, providing access to foam recycling to approximately 90,000 more households.

Since 2019, CC4C’s recycling program has continued to gain momentum and build success. “Our success of recycling foam has not gone unnoticed, and we’re now in cooperation with the City of Norman to assist in storing the densifier and material at the local Hazardous Household Waste Collection Facility. It’s exciting to see how successful this program has gotten, and this newfound cooperation is a notable sign of that,” said Cathryn Bowden, coordinator for Churches Caring for Creation.

The grant is made possible through contributions to FRC, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics; Cascades Canada ULC; CKF Inc.; Chick-fil-A; Dart Container Corp.; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; Hawaii’s Finest Products; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; NOVA Chemicals Corp.; Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging; Republic Plastics; and TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining USA.

Churches Caring for Creation is the 20th grant recipient to receive FRC funding since 2015. Over 4 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of FRC grants. Visit www.RecycleFoam.org to learn about foam recycling, read about previous recipients, or apply for a grant.

Greensboro Non-Profit Organizations Partner to Expand Collection of Foam Recycling

Four non-profit organizations in Greensboro, North Carolina, Tiny House Community Development (THCD), Greensboro Beautiful, Inc., Emerging Ecology, and Environmental Stewardship Greensboro, collectively known as the Foam Coalition of Nonprofits, continue to work toward expanding their foam polystyrene recovery efforts across central North Carolina. In 2020, the organization established a local drop-off site near downtown Greensboro to recycle more polystyrene (PS) foam marked with a number six (6). This includes cups, clamshell packaging, egg cartons and packaging foam that comes with electronics or furniture.

The Foam Coalition of Nonprofits continues to gain momentum and support throughout the local community and is now working to expand PS foam recycling drop-off locations. The organization was awarded a $28,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) in 2020 to assist in expanding access to foam recycling and implementing collection in additional areas of central North Carolina.

“These Greensboro non-profits are working hard to serve their communities by providing recycling services for foam polystyrene packaging that would otherwise be destined for the landfill,” says Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which oversees FRC.

Since establishing the foam recycling drop-off location, the organization has collected over 15,000 pounds of foam, provided paid workforce development jobs to homeless and formerly homeless individuals, and helped reduce the waste that goes to the landfill in the area. With this new grant, the organization will expand collection locations to include additional cities and local universities in providing access for PS foam recycling. This will also provide the opportunity to expand its workforce development training program as well.

“This unique partnership among our organizations has successfully established a thriving drop-off operation and we are excited to have the opportunity and support from the community to expand drop-off locations in the area,” said Scott A. Jones, executive director of Tiny House Community Development. “Not only is this site a great opportunity for the region’s recycling efforts, all proceeds from the sale of our recovered polystyrene will support construction of Tiny Houses, which will provide job training and homes for individuals in the community.”

FRC funding helped the Foam Coalition of Nonprofits set up and operate the first drop off site and expand its capabilities, which currently collects all types of foam polystyrene packaging materials including foodservice containers and trays from residents, hospitals, colleges, and businesses within Guilford County.

The grant is made possible through contributions to FRC, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics; Cascades Canada ULC; Chick-fil-A; CKF Inc.; Dart Container Corp.; Dolco Packaging; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; INEOS Styrolution America LLC.; Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging; and Republic Plastics.

Tiny House Community Development, Greensboro Beautiful, Inc., Emerging Ecology and Environmental Stewardship Greensboro are the 19th grant recipients to receive FRC funding since 2015. Over 6 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of FRC grants. Visit www.RecycleFoam.org to learn about foam recycling, read about previous recipients or apply for a grant.

Consumer Survey Reveals Sanitary Nature of Single-Use Packaging Most Important During Pandemic

The Foodservice Packaging Institute released its second Consumer Perceptions on Foodservice Packaging Report to better understand the general consumer’s use and perception of single-use foodservice packaging. To discover those consumer perceptions and provide feedback to its members, FPI commissioned a third-party to conduct a survey to find out how frequently people use single-use packaging and their perceptions and behavior choices related to foodservice packaging, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The spotlight has grown and remains focused on single-use foodservice packaging, particularly throughout the past year,” said Natha Dempsey, president of FPI. “We wanted to better understand consumer perceptions around these packaging products and compare them to our first consumer survey conducted in 2019. We also wanted to find out how, or if, the pandemic affected their perceptions of foodservice packaging.”

In the survey, respondents were asked if the COVID-19 pandemic influenced their perception of potential benefits, concerns or attributes of single-use foodservice packaging items. In both the U.S. and Canada, the clean and sanitary nature of single-use foodservice packaging items increased in importance for the highest percentage of respondents, followed by the protective/tamper-proof properties, although less than 40% said this would continue after the pandemic.

Reaffirming results from 2019, being leak- or spill-proof and stopping oil or grease from soaking through and staining clothes, car seats, etc. remain the most important attributes of single-use foodservice packaging for U.S. and Canadian respondents.

Results also showed that more than 50% of adults in the U.S. and Canada use single-use foodservice packaging at least once a week. This represents a slight decrease from 2019 results for U.S. and Canadian respondents. Within U.S. respondents, survey results in both 2021 and 2019 show that those with the highest income remain the most likely to use single-use foodservice packaging every day, and higher education appeared to correlate to higher use.

Participants were asked questions about how frequently they use single-use foodservice packaging; their beliefs about the importance of performance attributes in single-use foodservice packaging; benefits and concerns they have about single-use foodservice packaging and their reusable counterparts; their behavior choices related to foodservice packaging; environmental issues; and, new in 2021, the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each question was analyzed looking for significant differences in responses across demographic groups and frequency of using single-use foodservice packaging, and from the 2019 survey.

The final report includes input from 800 respondents in the United States and Canada balanced across income, education level, gender and region. This sample provides a statistically representative view of the beliefs of these populations with a 95% confidence rate with a plus/minus 5% margin of error.

FPI members and contributing participants received complete survey results. A complimentary executive summary of the report is available on FPI’s website. Please contact FPI’s Natha Dempsey, ndempsey@fpi.org, with any questions.

Foodservice Packaging Competition Now Accepting Nominations for Bi-Annual Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the bi-annual Foodservice Packaging Awards competition to honor excellence and innovation in foodservice packaging. The Foodservice Packaging Institute and QSR magazine kick off their 11th competition with multiple award categories to serve the industry.

Awards will be given in five categories. The top winners from each category will be eligible to win the coveted award of “2021 Foodservice Package of the Year.” The categories are:

  • Excellence in Brand Delivery: For excellence in the use of graphics or graphic design elements on packaging to promote brand recognition.
  • Excellence in New Menu Launch: For excellence in packaging that supports the launch of a new menu item.
  • Innovation in Convenience: For innovative features that make packaging easier to use and/or more convenient for the consumer and/or foodservice workers.
  • Innovation in Manufacturing: For raw material, machinery and/or converting innovations that enhance packaging.
  • The “Wow” Factor: For packaging with that extra “wow” effect when consumers or foodservice operators use or see this item.

“Over the years, we’ve seen some pretty amazing submissions, and look forward to seeing this year’s nominations that showcase innovation and excellence,” said Natha Dempsey, president of FPI. “It will be even more interesting to see how companies have continued to move forward with their foodservice packaging during the upheaval of the pandemic. Kudos to all of the entrants.”

A panel of industry experts will judge the entries. FPI will honor the winners during the association’s Fall Conference, October 28–29 in San Antonio, Texas. QSR will feature the results in its November 2021 issue.

Foodservice packaging manufacturers, their suppliers, foodservice operators, distributors, public relations firms and others are encouraged to enter the free competition by nominating themselves or others. For more information and to submit entries, please visit QSR’s website.

Coon Rapids Expands Operations to Recycle Additional Foam Packaging

The Coon Rapids Recycling Center received a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) to increase the recycling center’s capacity to manage, process and recycle more post-consumer foam polystyrene, including foodservice packaging and protective packaging.

The Coon Rapids Recycling Center, a residential drop off center located in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, focuses on materials that cannot be recycled at curbside — items ranging from carpet to appliances and electronics. The FRC funding, along with funding from a state of Minnesota Capital Improvement Project grant, allows the center to expand their current operations, purchasing equipment to assist in additional foam polystyrene recovery and performing maintenance and repairs to their existing foam densifier.

The recycling center accepts common household recyclable materials, oil and oil filters, scrap metal, organic food waste, electronic waste, batteries, mattresses and other materials. With a repaired densifier and new forklift, the center can expand their current foam polystyrene recycling program to accept foam foodservice packaging, cups, trays and other containers.

“It’s terrific to see more foam material coming to our recycling center. But with the increase, we needed to expand, find a solution to maintain our existing equipment and handle additional material,” said Colleen Sinclair, City of Coon Rapids recycling coordinator. “The Foam Recycling Coalition grant means we can continue serving our residents and collecting these recyclable materials for the foreseeable future.”

Coon Rapids is the 18th grant recipient to receive FRC funding since 2015. Over 3 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of FRC grants.

“We work with forward thinking communities, like the City of Coon Rapids to expand recycling programs for their residents,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which houses the coalition. “We’ve kicked off another year of FRC grants to continue to fund innovative programs that will help recover foam polystyrene packaging throughout North America.”

The 2021 Foam Recycling Coalition grant application process is open to public and private entities. Applications are due May 28, 2021. Visit www.RecycleFoam.org to learn about foam recycling, read about previous recipients or apply for a grant.

The grant is made possible through contributions to FRC, 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; and Republic Plastics.

22nd Annual Industry Report Indicates Some Growth Despite Pandemic

The Foodservice Packaging Institute’s 2021 State of the Industry Survey reveals that more than one-third of foodservice packaging manufacturers and suppliers experienced growth in volume while nearly one-quarter remained at the same level. Forty percent of respondents reported profit growth, a slight decrease compared with 45% of respondents in 2019, the last time the survey was released.

The 22nd State of the Industry Survey 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 impact.

“In 2020, when the world landscape was turned upside down, we determined that an industry report would not reflect the tremendous upheaval that we were experiencing. We are happy to be back this year with our annual survey which asks people in the industry, both members and non-members, to share their thoughts and insights on issues that matter most to the foodservice packaging industry,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. “Based on the feedback of nearly 80 organizations, the 2021 State of the Industry Survey predicts a positive year for the foodservice packaging industry, despite the pandemic.”

In a sign of optimism, 84% of respondents expect volume expansion and 72% expect profit growth this year. Foodservice operators who responded saw decreased sales, but were overwhelmingly optimistic that this trend would reverse in 2021.

In an interesting split, 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. Similar to previous years, 80% of North American converter respondents plan to purchase machinery in 2021.

Respondents continue to view the fast casual and quick service sectors as the greatest areas for market expansion. This is due largely to COVID-19 and post-pandemic health and safety concerns as continued use of take-out is expected. 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 products to eat at home.

“We are encouraged by the positive outlook within our industry, despite the challenges we face, and continue to face, with the coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions,” adds Dempsey.

FPI members and contributing participants received complete survey results. A complimentary executive summary of the report is available at www.fpi.org/resources. For more information, contact FPI’s Ashley Elzinga at aelzinga@fpi.org.

Greensboro Non-Profit Organizations Partner to Establish Recycling Drop-Off Site

Four non-profits in Greensboro, North Carolina, Tiny House Community Development (THCD), Greensboro Beautiful, Inc., Emerging Ecology and Environmental Stewardship Greensboro, have teamed up to establish a local drop-off site near downtown Greensboro to recycle more foam packaging products and keep them out of the landfill. The group was awarded a $22,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) to assist in purchasing a foam densifier that will be housed and operated from the THCD training and recycling center.

These partner organizations make tremendous efforts to help their community. For over 50 years, Greensboro Beautiful has played a key role in demonstrating citizen and community support for recycling with a focus on proving feasibility for potential “hard-to-recycle” materials. Tiny House Community Development, the operators of the new recycling drop-off, is a non-profit organization working to develop tiny house communities within Guilford County and the City of Greensboro. Environmental Stewardship Greensboro is an interfaith volunteer coalition that encourages sustainable lifestyle practices within faith communities and among residents of the county. Together, these organizations have established a new recycling drop-off site to increase diversion of materials from their landfill.

“This unique partnership of Greensboro organizations will provide the necessary services to recycle clean and empty foam packaging that is generated by their community, as well as educate residents as foam polystyrene recycling continues to increase across North America,” says Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which oversees FRC.

FRC funding helped these organizations purchase and install a high-capacity densifier unit to better manage the foam collection at their new site, which opened in November 2020. The densifier allows the drop-off site to collect all types of foam polystyrene packaging materials including foodservice containers and trays from residents, hospitals, colleges, and businesses within Guilford County.

The organizations estimate that approximately 1% of the current solid waste stream within the City of Greensboro is foam packaging material, so a new option for the community to divert this material is encouraging. “This unique but practical partnership among our organizations will allow us to establish a brand-new foam drop-off site near downtown Greensboro for all county residents to use,” said William “Bill” McNeil of Environmental Stewardship Greensboro. “Not only is this site a great opportunity for the city’s recycling efforts, all proceeds from the sale of our densified foam will support construction of Tiny Houses, which will provide job training and homes for individuals in the community.”

The grant is made possible through contributions to FRC, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics; Cascades Canada ULC; CKF Inc.; Chick-fil-A; Dart Container Corp.; Dolco Packaging; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging; and Republic Plastics.

Tiny House Community Development, Greensboro Beautiful, Inc., Emerging Ecology and Environmental Stewardship Greensboro are the 17th grant recipients to receive FRC funding since 2015. Over 4 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of FRC grants. Visit www.RecycleFoam.org to learn about foam recycling, read about previous recipients or apply for a grant.

St. Lucie County, Florida Expands Foam Polystyrene Recycling Program

St. Lucie County, FL residents and businesses will now be able to recycle more foam polystyrene products, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition.

After starting a single stream program in 2014, St. Lucie County has seen a continuous increase in the tonnage being processed at the St. Lucie Materials Recovery Facility, as well as continued engagement with residents on their recycling efforts. On average, the St. Lucie MRF processes 200 to 300 tons of recyclables per day and has a contamination rate as low as 15% to 18%, which it believes shows the commitment of their residents to the recycling effort. In the last few years, the county has received numerous questions and interest in foam recycling. Unable to provide curbside service for this material, the county hopes the drop-off recycling site for foam will meet resident requests.

The county’s drop-off recycling facility currently accepts corrugated cardboard, mixed paper, #3-7 plastics, steel, and aluminum. Now the new foam densifier is installed, the facility can accept clean foam packaging from televisions, appliances, computers and furniture, as well as clean foodservice packaging, such as egg cartons, coffee cups, light colored meat trays and foam coolers.

The county serves about 310,000 residents and nearly 123,000 households. “The new grant funding allows us to expand our current collection program and help us satisfy our residents’ requests for increasing recycling efforts within our county,” said Rebecca Olson, Assistant Director for St. Lucie County Solid Waste and Recycling. “With the growing concern from residents regarding how to recycle foam polystyrene, we know the participation in the program will be high, so with the help of this grant to expand our capabilities, we know this program will be a success.”

“St. Lucie County has residents who are passionate about recycling and the county has an amazing opportunity to address this need and provide new services for foam recycling to a population that truly is driven to keep these valuable materials from being landfilled,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which houses the Foam Recycling Coalition.

The grant is made possible through contributions to the FRC, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics; Cascades Canada ULC; CKF Inc.; Chick-fil-A; Dart Container Corp.; Dolco Packaging; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; NOVA Chemicals Corp.; Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging; Republic Plastics; and TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining USA.

St. Lucie County, Florida, is the 16th grant recipient to receive FRC funding since 2015. Over 4 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of FRC grants. Visit www.RecycleFoam.org to learn about foam recycling, read about previous recipients, or apply for a grant.