f there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to get
consumers’ attention, it’s the image of an
innocent animal suffering at the hands of
Such is the case with the recent wave of plastic-straw
bans in the U.S., triggered in part by a viral video of a sea
turtle with a plastic straw lodged disturbingly in its nose.
Following public uproar and heightened awareness of the
environmental impact of the overuse and improper disposal of plastic straws, governments—including the cities
of Seattle and San Francisco, as well as the state of California—are instituting regulations restricting plastic straws
at foodservice operations or altogether prohibiting them.
There’s no doubt the movement against plastic straws
has stirred up more than just controversy. While government intervention poses new challenges of compliance
for foodservice operators, it has signaled a broader shift
in consumer attitude toward the routine use of not just
straws but all single-use plastics, including bags, cups and
As people become increasingly aware and concerned
about their environmental footprint, retailers and manufacturers have an opportunity to elevate their brand to match
consumers’ values by supplying and producing environmentally safe alternatives. And with the rise of quick-service dining occasions, particularly food delivery, opportunity is ample to o;er innovative, convenient foodservice
packaging solutions to drive growth.
Two-thirds of foodservice packaging manufacturers
experienced growth in volume in ;;;;, and more than
;;; reported pro;t growth, according to the Foodservice
Packaging Institute’s ;FPI’s; ;;;; State of the Industry
report. This year, ;;; said they expect volume expansion, while ;;; expect pro;it growth, noting that the
greatest areas for market expansion include fast casual
and quick service via home delivery, as well as grocery
stores as retailers continue to improve their foodservice
o;erings with prepared foods, meal kits and grocerants.
Charting Regulation Challenges
While plastic straws have dominated headlines in recent
months, they’re not the only environmentally destructive
product sparking government regulation. Several cities,
including New York, have banned or partially banned the
use of foam containers, including cups, plates and trays.
Meanwhile, Santa Monica, Calif., recently expanded its
regulation on the use of polystyrene—a petroleum-based
plastic material—foodservice ware, now requiring all food
and beverage providers to use marine degradable alternatives to customers and only upon request.
The rise of government legislation and regulation on
single-use plastics is posing challenges of compliance for
retailers and foodservice operators; they can face steep
;nes and even jail time in some instances. As businesses
begin to switch to sustainable foodservice packaging,
including recyclable and compostable options, they must
also consider their approach toward proper disposal in
composting or recycling facilities.
“Currently only ;; of the recyclable plastics in the
world actually end up getting recycled,” says Mark Mari-
nozzi, VP of marketing for compostable-packaging sup-
plier World Centric, based in Petaluma, Calif. “The rest
of that material goes in the land;ll—that’s ;;;.”
Along with a retail line of foodservice ware, World Centric
o;ers compostable packaging for retailers’ foodservice pro-
grams, such as Good Earth Market, which recently added
World Centric’s PizzaRound—a circular, compostable alter-
native to cardboard pizza boxes. Made from ;;; sugarcane
and ;;; bamboo, the product is ;;;; tree-free and plant-
based. It is designed to reduce packaging waste, labor and
space needs, supporting foodservice operators’ e;orts to
minimize their environmental footprint.
To ease retailers’ transition to sustainable packaging and
The Total Package
The industry is shifting toward eco-friendly, convenient
packaging that appeals to consumer demand for sustainability
and supports the needs of retailers’ foodservice programs.
By Natalie Taylor
Global amount of
that actually get
Source: World Centric