The North American foodservice market (henceforth referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 23.63 billion in 2021, and it is projected to be worth USD 28.46 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 3.24% during 2022-2027 (henceforth referred to as the forecast period).
Key Highlights The North American foodservice packaging business has experienced consistent growth over the last decade, owing to changes in substrate choice, expansion of new markets, and changing ownership dynamics. Sustainability and environmental issues will continue to be emphasized, particularly in the United States, and various innovations catering to corrugated boxes, cartons, and plastic packaging are witnessing in the market.
Traditional packaging will continue to be replaced by flexible packaging. A corrugated box is a common type of packaging used to transport various food items. It is typically built of paperboard, mainly composed of wood cellulose fibers. These boxes have high strength, stiffness, flexibility, durability, lightness, and aesthetic appeal. The boxes are environmentally beneficial because no toxic chemicals are used in the production process, and they are recyclable. North American foodservice utilizes corrugated boxes to package their products majorly.
According to data from a Harris Poll commissioned by the Flexible Packaging Association, 83% of all brand owners use flexible packaging in some form. Polyethene is mainly used for plastic bottle packaging. It’s a semi-crystalline, lightweight thermoplastic resin with strong chemical resistance, low moisture absorption, and sound insulating qualities.
The main concern faced by the industry in the region is the stringent environmental regulations. Bans on plastic products at the country and state levels are anticipated to pose substantial challenges to the market over the forecast period.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a substantial influence on the foodservice industry’s profit margin. Companies in the food and beverage industry are seeing a significant drop in consumption and a disruption in supply chain management systems. The COVID-19 lockdowns have had a significant impact on the US foodservice, with spillover impacts on foodservice packaging suppliers. Despite a temporary decline in foodservice packaging volumes, the industry will rebound in stages against a backdrop of economic adversity. Both limited-service and full-service restaurants are predicted to increase consumer-facing foodservice packaging volume, albeit at a slower rate. Foodservice packaging should adapt and evolve to meet the increasing needs of the foodservice business as local economies open up and consumers adopt new methods of dining.
Key Market Trends
Corrugated Boxes and Cartons Segment to Exhibit the Highest Growth Rate
Corrugated cardboard packaging is believed to be the backbone of the American supply chain, as per various manufacturers. Due to covid-19, companies wanted to assure consumers that the cardboard box industry continues to operate and deliver needed packaging to their customers who supply grocery stores, pharmacies, residences, and hospitals with food and beverage supplies.
Consumers across the country who rely on consistent and reliable supplies would be severely harmed if the availability of these commodities were to be disrupted. To guarantee that products continue to flow to market, corrugated cardboard manufacturers are committed to operate box factories in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules.
However, packaging shortages are fueling persistent fluctuations in food and beverage product availability as many manufacturers source materials from overseas. Intense demand for corrugate, cardboard, and paper is causing concerns due to increased shipping activity from major e-commerce companies. Additionally, the uptick in takeout at restaurants is exacerbating shortages of items like coffee cups and to-go containers.
In October 2021, International Paper, a corrugated packaging and pulp manufacturer, stated that it absorbed an additional USD 50 million of supply chain costs for its export operations in its latest quarter. The company also informed in July 2021 that the supply of cardboard boxes was severely low and warned of continued supply chain bottlenecks leading into the rest of the year.
Also, low containerboard and corrugated cardboard inventory have been a mounting issue since the dramatic growth in e-commerce during the pandemic.
As concern oversupply grew, retailers like Amazon began stockpiling cardboard in January 2021 to meet demand, leaving smaller businesses empty-handed. By February 2021, the price of cardboard reached a record high, according to the Producer Price Index and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This has led to a shortage of corrugated boxes, directly affecting the growth of the market.
Quick Service Restaurants Holds the Maximum Market Share
Sustainable foodservice packaging in QSRs has become an essential part of the region. With less time for meal preparation at home, more people are relying on fast food for meals. Sustainable packaging formats allow food service establishments to package meals safely and cost-effectively while providing customers with a convenient and efficient way to transport meals.
RBI’s in-house design team collaborated with one of its agency partners to produce prototypes of the reusable packaging, which features a sandwich container and a beverage cup for soft drinks and coffee. The considerations include opening and shutting, the packaging’s height and width, how these will fit into QSR supply chain systems, and scalability. According to RBI, the container will be used a minimum of 100 times.
For instance, in January 2021, Restaurants that provide quick food Restaurant Brands International (RBI) brands Burger King and Tim Hortons began testing a program in cooperation with TerraCycle’s Loop circular packaging platform that will allow customers to specify reusable containers and cups when ordering various food and beverage items. Guests will be required to pay a deposit, which will be repaid after the packaging is returned and cleaned by Loop for reuse.
Most of the foodservice products used in QSRs are either made of paper, including paper, paperboard, and molded pulp, or plastic, including expanded polystyrene (EPS), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polylactic acid (PLA). Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) are designed to serve high-quality food and beverages less than typical restaurants or cafes. Many QSRs have implemented the usage of dispensers that give a controlled volume to ensure even dispersion and a high level of consistency to provide these services. This can include items like flavored coffee syrup bottles that dispense a specific volume of syrup with each dispenser pump, ranging from 5ml to 30ml, guaranteeing that each client gets the same quantity of flavor in their coffee.
Some QSRs mix the conveniences of a restaurant with the possibility for clients to exercise individuality through self-service features. Self-service sauce stations, for instance, will have these controlled-volume dispensers. These can assist QSRs in reducing product waste, increasing cost savings, and providing excellent customer service.
Also, in May 2021, Burger King is committed to contributing to a more sustainable future by lowering its environmental footprint. Straws and drink lids are among the restaurant’s guest-facing items launching a green packaging pilot program. The guest packaging, which uses alternative materials, will be tested in 51 of the brand’s company-owned restaurants in Miami. Burger King may also trial paper and plant-based straws and strawless lids, with the goal of eliminating up to 500 million single-use plastic straws from participating Burger King locations in the United States each year.
The North America Foodservice Packaging Market is fragmented due to the presence of a large number of players. There is increasing competition among local vendors in the region in the market. Owing to the wide range of suppliers of foodservice packaging, buyers have the option to choose from multiple vendors.
February 2022 - Apollo and Novolex announced that the fund managed by Apollo’s affiliates (Apollo Fund) had reached a final agreement to acquire most of the company from the fund managed by Carlyle. Carlyle will retain a minority stake in the company. The financial terms have not been disclosed.
September 2021 - Berry Global Group Inc. announced more than USD 110 million investment to expand its proprietary and polypropylene thermoforming capabilities in North America to manufacture clear drink cups and lids for quick-service restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, and other foodservice markets.
June 2021 - Novolex announced that it launched a new production line in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to manufacture compostable cold beverage cups made from plant-based plastic. The clear cups are made using polylactic acid (PLA), a plastic polymer created from starch-based plants, such as corn, sugarcane, and wheat straw.
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