While the COVID pandemic temporarily paused the use of reusable cups and foodservice items at places like Starbucks, that hasn’t stopped the development of these items for broader use. Corporate sustainability goals and concerns about waste generation are driving well known restaurant chains like Burger King and McDonald’s to look for new ways to reduce the impact of their operations on the environment.
Burger King has announced the development of reusable packaging for menu items such as sandwiches and beverages. After use, the containers, which are being tested in New York, Portland, and Tokyo, can be returned to the Burger King restaurant, where they are sanitized and reused. In September, McDonald’s announced a similar pilot program with Loop for reusable hot beverage cups in the UK starting in 2021.
The US restaurant industry uses over $14 billion of disposable products such as cups, containers, straws, and utensils each year, most of which end up in the waste stream. However, the development of products that combine improved environmental profiles with good performance continues to be a challenge for industry participants.
This is particularly important given the sustainability pledges by foodservice operators and changes in state and local regulations. For instance, on November 4, New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy signed a law banning the use of single-use retail bags – paper and plastic – and polystyrene foodservice containers and cups. As companies such as Loop expand their reusable packaging programs, more such packaging options will appear in foodservice outlets, pandemic or not.
For more information and discussion of market opportunities, see Packaged Facts’ food- and beverage-related reports, including Food Carryout & Delivery and the companion report with timely consumer insights from our in-house survey capabilities. The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research provides a strong complement to packaged food and restaurant industry analysis, including US Restaurant Reopening: COVID-19 Impact on Supplies and Global Foodservice, as well as packaging industry titles such as Foodservice Single-Use Products, Global Foodservice Single-Use Products, and Global Single-Use Packaging Regulations.
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