Genpak Blog - The Latest On Foodservice Packaging & More

Compostable Food Packaging from Genpak

April 29th, 2014

The need for “greener” food packaging is increasing and will continue to increase according to many reports published recently, by market research firms.  Whether it’s called biodegradable packaging or compostable packaging, the reports indicate a growth rate of 18% annually over the next 5 years, with the fastest growth opportunity in the food and beverage sectors.  Many factors are sited for this growth, but the two most prominent reasons are consumer awareness, which is great, along with governmental legislation, which is not so great.  If you are a regular reader here, you’ll understand I’m not in favor of local governments deciding which packaging can and can’t be used.  I won’t get into that rant here, but if you are interested you can always sift through previous posts on that subject.

For now though, I think it would be a good idea to review the options we have available for compostable food packaging starting with our Harvest Fiber products whose features include:Harvest Fiber Biodegradable Packaging

  • 100% compostable – BPI certified.  Only accept 3rd party verification for compostability claims!
  • 100% all natural material
  • Microwave safe
  • Non-absorbent
  • Genpak engineered designs including Snap-It closures and stacking features on hinged containers

I think that last bullet point is what really separates Genpak from the rest of the field.  Our customers have come to expect a higher level of quality in both material and design.  It did not seem right to introduce compostable packaging that did not have the same great features as our traditional packaging.  That why, when you utilize our Harvest Fiber hinged containers, you’ll enjoy the same great features such as our Snap It closures and stacking rims.  Our finished product is also superior in strength and moisture resistance which is important.  Consumers do not want to eat out of a package that feels like a wet sponge which is what you can get with inferior products.

Our Harvest Fiber offering is 9 items deep on hinged containers (and growing – stay tuned) from the HF225 medium sandwich container to our popular HF203 large hinged dinner container.  The plates, bowls and platters make up 12 items within the line.  Now, if you really want to set yourself apart, be sure to use our square Harvest Fiber dinnerware offerings.  They include the HFSQ20 – 20 oz bowl, HFSQ10 – 10″ plate and HFSQ11 – 11″ platter.   Each of these great items has a clear, over-cap lid available which, while not compostable, are made of 30% post consumer recycled material and are also curb side recyclable!  Lastly, rounding out the line is our HF105, 5 compartment school tray.

As you can see, we have all our most popular configurations available for our customers to choose from.  We’ve also taken the time to do it right with 3rd party certifications and our own Genpak designs.  But we did not stop there.  We recently expanded our compostable offering to include our entire line of paper cone, portion and pleated water cups which we call Harvest Paper.  As with our Harvest Fiber items, these paper products are also 100%, 3rd party certified compostable.  We have 6 cone cup configurations to choose from, 12 portion cups and 4 pleated cold drink cups.

Since Genpak was the first to offer a full line of compostable products back six years ago, we thought it important to have the fullest and highest quality line available for our customers.  If you are new to Genpak products or compostable packaging in general, we suggest you try it before you buy it.  I urge you to order up a FREE sample kit of our Harvest products and test them for yourself.  Our hope is that you will join our family of satisfied customers and allow us to become Your Food Packaging Company! 


10500 School Lunch Tray Wins the Genpak National Food Packaging Championships

April 4th, 2014

And the winner is…the 10500 School Tray!  It wasn’t even really close.  The 10500 has dominated sales since the start of this tournament.  I suppose you could argue that if this contest occurred during the summer months when most schools are in recess, the outcome would have been different.  But the fact is, the 10500 has beat them all.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following the food packaging championships as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you.

Be sure to check out our 10500 along with all the great food packaging options Genpak has to offer.



School Trays vs. Three Compartment Take Out Container

April 3rd, 2014

I’m sure you were all waiting with baited breath on the results of the elite eight and final four.  Here you go.  The 10500 School Tray just keeps rolling along as did the SN203 Large, Three Compartment Take-Out Container.  Both have made it to the finals.  Having seen all the scores in each match up, I don’t know if the SN203 is going to be able to handle the surging 10500.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for the results of the championship game!

Genpak food packaging championships

Genpak food packaging championships


Genpak Food Packaging National Championships

March 28th, 2014

Round three is in the books and it was tough day to be a Meat Tray.   The category entered the sweet sixteen with 5 players and exited with only the 1002 still standing.  Being a number one seed, the 1002 should still be in it, but the others all lost including the 1004D in an upset defeat to the Hinged Take-Out stalwart 20010 large dinner container.  The only other upset was the AD24 Hinged Deli Container  bumping off the the #2 seeded 22500 Large Hinged Sandwich Container.

I can see this coming down to a head to head competition with the School Tray against the Large Hinged Take-Out Container.  We’ll see what happens in the next round on April 2nd.  Be sure to check back for those results.

Food Packaging Championships

Genpak Food Packaging National Championships

March 21st, 2014

By now I’m sure you are all glued to the RSS feeds of our blog, just waiting for round two results.  Wait no further for here they are.  Round two saw four upsets starting off with the number 6 seed 10600 School Tray bumping off the 3rd seeded SN243 Hinged Take-Out Container.  Another 6th seed besting a 3rd seed was the AD24 Hinged Deli Container over the LAM09 Laminated Dinner Plate in a very close contest.  Meanwhile the AD08 Hinged Deli took care of the W1002 West Coast Meat Tray while the 1016S Standard Meat Tray beat the 83900 Three Compartment Dinner Plate to round out the upsets.

The match up that interested me most was the battle of the Large Hinged Sandwich Containers commonly referred to as the Hamburger Box.  It was the Snap-It design SN225 taking on the Traditional Design 22500.  It was close, but the experience and longevity of the 22500 was too much for the newer SN225.  I am sure before this tournament is over we’ll see some more design match ups go head to head.  Be sure to check in next Friday for round three results and good luck.

Round 3 results

Round 3 results

Genpak Food Packaging National Championships

March 20th, 2014

Round one is complete and for the most part, you were safe if you picked the favorites.  Only two upsets to report.  The 1017S Standard Food Tray edged out the AD12 Hinged Deli Container in a close contest.  Also, the TR04P Processor Grade Food Tray beat the 1004S Standard Food Tray.  I guess it was a good day to be a Food Tray.  There was one other close contest with the 20310 Hinged Take-Out Container and 21900 Large Hinged Hoagie Container, but in the end the 20310 had just a few more cases for the victory.

Check back tomorrow for round two results.  I’m sure we’ll see some more upsets along the way…

First Round Results

First Round Results



Genpak Food Packaging National Championship

March 17th, 2014

March madness if finally here and it’s now time for the Genpak Food Packaging National Championships!  These great food packaging options have battled hard all year to make it to the big dance.  We’ve got 10 great product categories represented this year with Food Trays bringing 19 items in, just edging out perennial powerhouse Foam Hinged Take-Out Containers with 17 items.   Clear Hinged Deli Containers and Celebrity Dinnerware each enter in with 6 items.  Harvest Paper has 5, Elite Dinnerware has 4 while Harvest Fiber, School Trays and Silhouette Dinnerware all have 2 players and Smart Set Pro brings in 1 item.

As always, items make it into this contest by their sales numbers over the last twelve months.  But, anything can happen when they go head to head in one day sales competitions which is the way this tournament works.  Will the number one seed SN200 be able to hold off the surging W1004D food tray?  Only time will tell.  Same question for the overall number one seed, 10500 school tray.  Will this item’s cumulative month over month sales sustain it in one day showdowns throughout this tournament?


  • Whichever item has the most case sales in that day will proceed to the next round.
  • In the event of a case number tie, the item with the most pieces per case will be declared the winner.  If both have the same case count, the previous 2 day sales will be run.
  • Results will be posted the day following the contest date.

Good Luck!

Food Packaging Championship

Manufacturing In The USA!

March 14th, 2014

As you know, at Genpak we manufacture 99% of everything we sell.  We have 14 manufacturing sites in the United States and 5 in Canada, along with our corporate headquarters here in beautiful Glens Falls, NY.  Making our own products, and not just reselling someone else’s, gives our people a sense of pride that is shown in the wonderful quality our products have, which Genpak has come to be synonymous with.  There certainly is something to be said about products Made In America!  This video produced by the National Association of Manufacturers (which we are proud members of) does an excellent job of capturing this sentiment and is worth watching.

Why Buy Post Consumer Recycled Products?

March 11th, 2014

The Federal Trade Commission defines recycled content materials as those that have been recovered or diverted from the solid waste stream.  Recycled content can be broken into two categories.  Post-consumer and pre-consumer, (which may also be referred to as post-industrial).  Post-consumer content, as its name implies, are materials that have been used by consumers.  Examples are clear plastic water and soda bottles made from P.E.T. that carry the #1 recycle symbol.  Post-industrial is scrap that is generated during the normal manufacturing process that is recycled back into its raw material state and used again.

At Genpak, we began producing our clear Hinged Deli products using post-consumer recycled (PCR) content back in early 2007.  Since then we have expanded that program to include all of our clear APET products including our foodservice lids, Supermarket Containers and clear bakery packaging.

The EPA states “There’s more to recycling than setting out your recyclables at the curb.  In order to make recycling economically feasible, we must buy recycled products and packaging.  When we buy recycled products, we create an economic incentive for recyclable materials to be collected, manufactured and marketed as new products.  Buying recycled products has both economic and environmental benefits.  Purchasing products made from or packaged in recycled materials saves resources for future generations.”

For our part, we have used nearly 100 million pounds of post-consumer resin for our APET products.  To put that into perspective, it is the equivalent of diverting nearly 2 billion water bottles from landfills!  Breaking it down even further to a customer level, you can say that for every 200 cases of our very popular AD16 purchased, you have helped divert 17,600 bottles that were destined for a landfill.  Not only are our Deli containers made with 30% post-consumer recycled content, but they are also still #1 recyclable!  It’s a win-win.

For more information or to request samples just drop us a line and we’ll get you everything you need to know.

Albany County Ban On PS Foam

January 31st, 2014

So the battle was lost and Albany County in its infinite wisdom has banned foamed polystyrene foodservice products.  A week or so after the ban, we got a call from the County Executives office asking if we could help them in identifying alternative materials.  Here’s how the call went:

Genpak:  Yes I understand Albany County banned PS foam.  Can you tell me what it was banned in favor of?

Albany:  Um, all plastics

Genpak:  All plastics were banned?  So not even microwave safe material or clear “water bottle” type material?

Albany:  Um wait a minute…shuffles papers, no banned in favor of biodegradable or compostable materials.

Genpak:  Okay, what is the definition of biodegradable or compostable within the law?

Albany:  Um (shuffles more papers) something that biodegrades or degrades within a reasonable time period.

Genpak:  Thank you.  What is the definition of a reasonable time period?  Two months, twelve months, three years?

Albany:  Um it does not specify.

Genpak:  Okay, maybe we can determine this by the preferred method of disposal.  Can you tell me where the municipal composting facility is located where these products will be diverted to?

Albany:  Um it does not specify.

Genpak:  So let me get the facts straight.  The bans’ author has taken the time to target a particular material in favor of one that is compostable, but has not specified a time frame for composting, the preferred method of disposal or a suitable composting facility?

Albany:  Um yes it sure looks like that’s what he did.

Genpak:  Thank you.  So what will happen then is the restaurant will source these products, pay around 3 times more for them, pass on the added cost to the consumer, who will then have a very nice compostable product to dispose of, which will almost certainly be into a garbage pail which will have a polyethylene liner.  The resulting trash will be tied up tight, then shipped off to the local landfill where it will be buried with the rest of the waste.  From there it will sit for decades before it begins to degrade.

Albany:  Why will it sit for decades?  I thought it was compostable.

Genpak:  Yes, it is compostable, but only within industrial or professionally run compost facilities who are licensed to accept food grade waste.  These facilities can control heat and moisture levels which allows the container to break down and completely compost into useful soil enhancement.

Albany:  What if the containers end up littered.  Will it go away in nature on its own.

Genpak:  Perhaps in years it might, but certainly not in what most people would consider a reasonable amount of time.  These products are not like leaves that break down within a season.  If they were made that way, they’d never be able to be used for holding, transporting and protecting food products.

Albany:  Ummmmmmmm……

As I’ve said so many times before.  We should let the markets decide which type of materials and containers they want to use.  Almost always when this is the case, homework and testing has been done regarding a products entire life cycle.  Consumers should be the force driving markets…not politicians.  When the latter is the case, you get exactly what has happened in Albany County.  They have done nothing more than put undo pressure on local businesses that can eventually drive consumer prices higher or stifle growth.

We manufacture and sell an awful lot of compostable products which is great.  There are numerous instances where markets or food operators have made a conscious decision to switch their type of packaging from one material to another, but they have done their homework in terms of end of life scenarios for all their waste…including the packaging.  They’ve arranged for recycling, reusing as well as worked out a composting program.  When it’s done like this, it is a very good system.  When it’s done by legislation being forced down businesses throats, nothing is accomplished except for making your club sandwich and fries go from $6.50 to $7.15.


green tea