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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.


Albany County Proposed Ban

December 3rd, 2013

I attended the hearing last evening in Albany held by the County Executive Dan McCoy, who listened to statements from folks regarding the proposed ban on foamed polystyrene food packaging.  There was a good mix of people from individual citizens to local union workers to manufacturers.  It was interesting listening to the people who were in favor of the ban and their misguided arguments.  It became clear that much of what the proponents of the ban were saying was pulled from urban legend emails and internet chatter concocted by those who would demonize what they don’t like.  The following is a summary and subsequent debunking of their arguments.

  • Foamed polystyrene is “clogging” our landfills.  FALSE!  The EPA stated that in 2011, as a nation we generated 250MM tons of trash.  Of that trash, 12.7% is listed as plastic.  Keep in mind that is all plastics from shampoo bottles & toys to durable goods such as furniture.  They estimate that only 2.8% of that plastic is non-durable goods such as plates, bowls and cups.  The EPA did not segregate solid plastic from foamed plastic which, is the material being targeted in this ban.  Consider for a moment that a foam 12 ounce bowl weighs about 58% less than a solid plastic 12 ounce bowl and you can reasonably concluded that the actual amount of foamed foodservice items going into landfills is more around the 1.5% number.  Now I do not have a number I can hang on the word “clogging”, but 1.5% of something is far from any reasonable definition.
  • Foam polystyrene is dangerous to your health.  FALSE!  One lady who spoke actually stated that these items were poisonous and why would we want to use poisonous products.  The sad part was, she was not being facetious and had been convinced that foamed foodservice items would do her serious harm.  Of course nothing could be further from the truth.  Foam foodservice items have been safely used for over 40 years.  The FDA has approved foam foodservice items to be safe for food contact.  In fact there are studies done by the Nevada Health Department that show the use of single use packaging is actually more safe that permanent ware due to lower microbial levels.  Think about it.  How many times have you gone out to eat and noticed your plate or silverware had little specs of food dried on it?  This simply never happens with foam food packaging.  There was also a fair bit of chatter regarding the component styrene.  This is an instance where people hear what they want to and disregard the rest.  The fact is, styrene is a liquid whereas polystyrene is an inert solid.  I’ve never seen a liquid version of a foam food container.  Furthermore, styrene is present naturally in many foods we eat including beef, strawberries, wheat and cinnamon.  In fact you’d be exposed to far more styrene by eating one cinnamon donut than drinking 30 cups of coffee from a foam cup.  I have not heard of any bans on cinnamon donuts though.  Why?  Simple, the amount of exposure is so incredibly small, it is measured in parts per billion.  The plain truth is foam foodservice products are totally safe.  History, the FDA and the scientific facts support that claim whereas those who claim otherwise rely on hyperbole, urban legends and misinformation to confuse and misguide folks like that poor little lady who thought it was poisonous.
  • Foam containers contribute to litter.  Should this ban go through, Albany County would simply be trading one type of litter for another.  The ban calls for replacements items to be compostable.  Here again, the folks in the audience who brought up this point simply don’t know that even though an item may be designated as compostable, it simply will not go away like they think it will if littered.  I know this because as a company we offer many compostable products and know that they will only compost when deposited in professionally run compost facilities that have control over heat and moisture exposure.  One gentleman displayed a cup that had been littered and said if that were a paper cup or other compostable item, it would have gone away.  That is simply not true.  Consider this, it takes a leaf one full year to biodegrade back into the forest floor.  How long do you think it would take a compostable cup or bowl, if littered to fully biodegrade?  I’ll bet that gentleman thought it was maybe a month or two.  I think not.  More like a couple of years.  Addressing the litter issue by banning a particular product in favor of a far more expensive (2 times more) item just places undo financial hardship on business owners who use those products.  It does nothing about litter.  A litterbug is going to litter that cup no matter what it is made of.  It seems to me increasing fines and actually going after the litterbugs would do much more in controlling litter than banning a product.  Catch someone and fine them $200 Graph of litter make upbucks for chucking a cup out their window will quickly change their minds on how to properly dispose of that cup.  Litter is not something caused by foodservice single-use items. Litter is caused by unmanaged and overflowing trash receptacles, the general lack of properly placed trash receptacles and unscrupulous people who knowingly and illegally dump their refuse into the environment.  Not that any litter is good, I thought it would be helpful to know that “fast food” packaging which is what we are talking about here, actually is a very small percentage of the total litter.  Here is a graphic right from Keep America Beautiful that shows these containers are only 5.3% of the litter problem.

As you can see, I’ve linked in sources from reputable web sites and listed other references by name.  Anything stated here can be looked up and verified…unlike most all of the wild claims made by proponents of the ban last night.  I really think that 90% of the folks that spoke in favor of the ban are good people that are just not informed of the true facts.  They have bought into the misinformation and outright falsehoods spread by the other 10% who simply have it out for “big business”.  Hopefully the eight Genpakers along with the employees from other food packaging manufacturers that were present, helped to put faces behind company names.  We are folks just like them who live and raise families right here in New York State.  I doubt my little blog here will change the minds of those 10% who only hear what fits into their ideology, but for those other people, I truly hope that you will read and consider the facts before passing judgement.


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