Genpak Blog - The Latest On Foodservice Packaging & More

Foamed Polystyrene Ban in NYC

November 27th, 2013

Emperor Bloomberg is trying to inflict as much damage to the economy as he can prior to his exit as New York City Mayor by cramming through a ban that would stagnate job growth and raise consumer prices all while doing nothing to solve their litter issue.  I think the most disturbing thing in that piece, was the video where all the school children were marched out by their “teachers” to chant against the polystyrene workers who came in support of their jobs.  Typical it seems these days of certain groups.  Demonize and belittle that which they do not agree with or which doesn’t fit into their ideology.  A sad day for those poor school kids and shame on those “teachers” for forcing their personal views upon them.

Food Packaging and Food Industry News

October 25th, 2013

News worth reading…

  • I guess it’s true what they say.  There is an app for everything.  This one is for help sorting PET recycling containers.
  • Top food trends for next year.  Interesting on the seaweed part.
  • The city of Montreal will expand their foamed polystyrene recycling efforts.  Hats off to our neighbors to the North!
  • Chili’s to offer delivery service for their food.  I would think this is something that will continue to spread with certain restaurant chains.  It’s all about convienience and it’s not bad for food packaging companies like us as well who produce the items that would be used package the food.
  • Intellegent food packaging will be the way of the future.  I really like the idea of the packaging itself being able to tell the consumer if the food is fresh or not.
  • Another short sighed bill by a short sighted local government that will hurt area food vendors/restaurants and make it harder for them to survive.  The mayor there states the products can’t be recycled.  I did a 20 second Google search and found two facilities that accept EPS foam plus another dozen that accepts EPS foam loose fill.  Guess it would be too hard to strike a deal with any number of these facilities regarding a recycling program.  Yeah it is just so much easier to ban stuff.  They should take a lesson from the folks up on Montreal who work to a solution instead of banning products.

Food Packaging News

October 17th, 2013

Here’s some articles worth reading.

  • I don’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said, “anything that can be invented has already been invented”.  This new concept slaps that notion down.  I’ll be looking for this new packaging at the grocery store.
  • McDonald’s to begin placing paperback books into happy meals.  Check out the critic’s comment at the end of this piece.  What a nut.  This guy would probably like nothing better than to run them out of business and send the millions employed by McD’s out on the street.  Can he not be happy and a little satisfied that McD’s is encouraging kids to read and maybe learn a little at the same time?  Get a life dude.
  • A fitness center at my grocery store?  I have mixed emotions about this one.  Hopefully shoppers can’t see the folks working out.
  • Recycling rates for PET continues to increase which is a good thing.  For our part, we have been using post consumer recycled PET for many years now in the production of our clear APET products.
  • Here’s an interesting concept for food packaging.  I think this person has a future in packaging design!
  • Food packaging designed for a trip to the Antarctic.  Even though this is not Genpak packaging, you have to give credit where credit is due.
  • Quick service restaurant CEO says Obamacare will hurt job creation and reduce staffing.  This could have far reaching effects which will include food packaging decisions.

Smart Phones Change the Restaurant Business

October 15th, 2013

Do you have a smart phone? I have a smart phone. My husband has a smart phone. My co-workers have smart phones. Everyone I know has a smart phone. Actually more than 56% of the US population has a smart phone. Eighty percent of young people, ages 18-34, own a smart phone. No wonder every website has a mobile version.

But that’s not what I’m getting at. With our population becoming more and more attached to their phone, restaurants need to get to consumers in different ways. Enter online ordering from your favorite fast casual restaurant. You can now get take-out food without even talking to someone. Catering decisions can be made quickly. Placing an order for your favorite dish right before you leave from work and picking it up on the way home just became more convenient. No one trying to upsell you on an appetizer or dessert. With the ease of ordering take-out food we have seen the increase in usage of our microwave safe containers.

Smart Set Pro FP035Our Smart Set Pro and Harvest Pro product lines fit right in. Take away soups, appetizers and full meals can all be accommodated in these products. Smart Set Pro comes in two pieces black and clear bottoms with clear lids. You can still show off your products while keeping them hot. Don’t forget you can put your brand on the lids! Smart Set Pro containers are reusable.Harvest Pro

Why not cement that idea of take-out from your restaurant even further when they are using it to store left-overs from home. Our Harvest Pro products are hinged containers made of polypropylene and natural minerals. Both of these options are leak resistant, recyclable, and microwave safe.
And don’t forget there’s an app for that. With the boom of the iPhone and Android, many restaurants now have loyalty apps that reward you with points, or coupons right in the palm of your hand, encouraging you to take-out, dine in, eat more, and bring friends.

Choosing The Right Take-Out Container

October 15th, 2013

For me, the first change in how restaurants view take out packaging, began shortly after 9/11. Late September and October traditionally offers and abundance of Distributor food shows (both in the Fall and Spring). As I attended these shows a common theme came from the restaurant owners that attended these show. Their dine–in business was down but their take out business had increased. This was due to a nervous public not feeling safe to dine out just yet but they still wanted to enjoy their local restaurant’s signature entrees. The traditional doggie bag packaging did not fully represent their “Brand”. This gave rise to decorated containers and black take out packaging Texas Take Out(highlights the food and not the package).

The second change I noticed was when my wife and I decided that, because we now had two young children, it was time to join the “Family Van generation”. As we shopped for this family transportation device, I noticed that a big selling feature was the multiple cup holders and easy folding tray tables these vans offered. We are truly a mobile society and the growth of the internet and social media makes that growth much faster. Imagine telling your parents back in the 1960’s, that the delicious looking sandwich you were eating came from…..the local Gas Station?

The take out industry has exploded in every shape and variety. Statistics show that more people take out their food than eat it in the restaurant. I used to tell distributor sales people about our products and how they function; now I tell them to ask the question to the restaurant owner. What do you want out of your take out program? Having a solid to go program helps you realize a tremendous source of profit. No wait staff, no waiting for table turnover, and no dish washing.

They say “you eat with your eyes” and if your brand is your food, then choosing take out packaging in this day and age is critical to your bottom line

Food Packaging News

October 11th, 2013

Here’s a few articles worth reading.

  • An interesting piece on photographing frozen meals for the outer display carton.  Reality or creative liberties?  You decide.
  • Sort of along the same lines as the previous post, but this one talks about on-line grocery shopping and the imagery used to sell those products.
  • Same store restaurant sales slump in Q3.  This coincides with the overall health of the economy I think…no matter what the government keeps telling us.
  • Specialty drinks help restaurants cope with slumping beverage margins.  And they are tasty I might add!
  • Gluten free baked goods?  Sound odd, but it looks like it has passed the trend phase.  The good news is, all Genpak bakery products are 100% gluten free!

Compostable Food Packaging

October 3rd, 2013

I was recently in the San Francisco airport and noticed that most of fine food establishments were serving their food in containers that were marked as compostable.  We’ve talked about compostable containers many times before, in this blog.  In fact as a company, we sell quite a lot of compostable packaging under our Harvest product lines.  What struck me as odd was there were no collection points set up for these containers.  The only option for disposal was into the trash receptacles.  Once they go into those garbage cans, they are headed for the landfill.  Unfortunately, most people mistakenly assume that the container will compost or go away in the landfill.  This is not the case.

Studies have shown that even organic materials (food waste, lawn clippings) last a very long time.  So I guess the question is, did these food operations decide to “go green” thinking the containers would be composted, were they forced to by legislation, or did they just make a conscious decision to do this as an internal initiative based on consumer feedback.  In a perfect world, the answer would be the last.  I believe the markets and consumers need to be the force behind these types of decisions, but it is my guess that in this case, they were forced to since most every food outlet was using compostable packaging.  I find it hard to believe that every individual food operation in that airport thought the same way in terms of their food packaging.

Just to be clear, I’m packaging neutral when it comes to the substrate used since I work for a company that sells most every type available.  Paper, plastics, hybrids and yes 100% certified compostable products.  I just think it is best to allow the markets (consumers) decide which materials are desired.  This goes against the thinking of many in the political arena who would rather pick on materials that are deemed easy targets due to customer misconception and internet folklore.  One needs to really ask what their motives are.  Is it because it’s the will of their constituents or that they want to have some sort of perceived accomplishment?  You decide.

Food Packaging News

August 16th, 2013

Here are a few of the newsworthy articles involving food packaging, worth a look from this week.

  • I find the science behind human behavior fascinating.  This piece talks about what prompts people to choose one type of snack over another when it comes to the type of package it comes in.
  • The correct type of food packaging can help prevent food waste.  So true!
  • Food tucks, now food trailers?  Interesting concept.  Note the comment about using compostable food packaging.
  • Portland, OR city council proposes a short sighed bill that will increase the cost of your food purchased from food vendors.  When will they learn that this type of bill does nothing more than making it hard for small business to thrive?


Food Packaging Industry News

August 6th, 2013

More food packaging news worth a look…

  • Consumers seem more in tune on the types of packaging used these days.  So much so it can sway their decision to buy a product or not.  For me it’s reusable & microwave safe packaging that can push me over the edge to purchase. 
  • Okay so this one about renaming fish really doesn’t have anything to do with food packaging, but the marketing guy inside me liked this enough to post.
  • Beer, wine or liquor?  Some interesting statistics on what people choose to drink, for those that chose to drink.
  • The FDA has now defined what can be called gluten free.  One thing is for sure…Genpak products are 100% gluten free!
  • Food trucks at airports?  Interesting concept.  I wonder if it’ll take off?  Okay that was bad but it made me chuckle.
  • Take home catering can offer a great revenue stream.  I like this article because we offer a full range of food packaging perfect for this type of application.

Food Packaging Industry News

August 1st, 2013

So sorry it’s been a while since my last News Worth Reading post, but believe it or not I took some vacation!  Enjoy the following and I’ll do my best to stay on top of this moving forward.

  • There is reason for optimism in the restaurant industry.  Although this report only shows “some” optimism…any news of growth is a good thing.
  • Debit card swipe fees are making news again.  This report shows the fees costing merchants, including food operators, big money.
  • An excellent article from Technomics on what people want out of their restaurant.  I can relate to the bread part of this.  I’ll only get a sub from this one pizza place near my house because their bread is the best around.  I’m sure there are cheaper places to get a turkey sub, but I’ll pay more for the one that tastes the best.
  • It’s official.  Buying local, organic and natural foods at grocery stores is no longer considered a niche market.  More people are looking for these traits now than those that do not.  Also, I’ve seen more and more examples of “local” source foods on restaurant menus than ever before.  It just makes sense I think.
  • Technology is on the rise with quick service restaurants.  I find this story interesting because it talks about placing QR codes on the food packaging, which of course is near and dear to my heart.
  • Plastic cup sales are expected to be on the rise according to this piece.  That would be okay with us as we have a full line of plastic cups and lids.  On a side note, I bet the current mayor of New York isn’t thrilled that this growth is driven by larger size sales.  See previous post on that one.
  • Not only is their reason for optimism in the restaurant industry, but this report shows excellent growth in prepared foods at supermarkets as well.  It’s all music to our ears, because it means more demand for food packaging.