We calculate from your website that the Foodservice Packaging Institute is 83 years old. We're wondering what insights you may have into how the nature of foodservice packaging has changed over that time and, in particular for paper, what have been the most innovative developments?
Indeed, FPI is over 80 years old, but our industry is over 100 years old! And it all started with paper foodservice packaging. First came the paper plate, then the paper cup. Over the years, we've seen other paper foodservice packaging items introduced, as well as other items made from other materials, including aluminum and plastic. As for paper foodservice packaging, I would say the greatest innovations have revolved around the coatings used on paper foodservice items, product development to provide insulation properties and use of fantastic printing and graphics. Plus, there are the innovations that make the packaging more readily recyclable or compostable. Our industry continues to design new materials and products to meet the needs of foodservice operators and their customers. I can't wait to see what's next!
WIST: FPI, we presume is material agnostic, what proportion of your membership represents paper foodserviceware compared to other materials?
Like our industry, I would say the association is split pretty evenly paper to plastic. However, today, it's more paper AND plastic, not paper OR plastic. We continue to see mergers and acquisitions in the industry so companies can sell the full portfolio - paper and plastic - and can offer whatever the customer needs.
How can paper manufacturers and converters become involved in FPI and what are the benefits of membership?
I am always happy to talk with anyone about FPI and how to join, so don't hesitate to contact me! I am proud to have helped double the size of the FPI membership, and today we represent about 90 percent of the entire industry in North America. To grow, however, you have to be able to offer tangible benefits that members value. In general, our work for members can be placed into six key areas:
-- Advocate for the interests of the industry, including the responsible manufacture, distribution, use and disposal of its products;
-- Collect, maintain and disseminate accurate facts and science-based information related to the industry and its products;
-- Communicate the value and benefits of foodservice packaging to internal and external audiences;
-- Promote members' products and identify potential new business opportunities;
-- Offer compliance and develop technical services; and
-- Bring together customers and suppliers.
That last one is really important. Our semi-annual conferences consistently rank as a top member benefit because everyone from the industry - from raw material and machinery suppliers to converters to foodservice distributors and operators - are gathered together in one place to talk about one thing: foodservice packaging. If you're in our industry, you belong in FPI.