06.09.2017 |
Liz W.
Out-of-home Packaging: New Trends, Demands and Opportunities

One of the most interesting emerging markets in the global paper and pulp industry is out-of-home packaging. Across Europe, home delivery and fast casual food may well overtake the market share of full-service restaurants by 2020.New ways of dining prompt restaurant and take-away food suppliers to implement new strategies, including the use of convenient, innovative, eye-catching, more sustainable types of packaging. Besides the taste of the meal, out-of-home packaging is the key medium to convince customers of the premium quality of their dining experience.
 Over the last decade, fast casual dining has been booming worldwide. Fast casual restaurants combine the positive elements of both quick service restaurants and formal restaurants, offering fresh world cuisine food cooked with superior ingredients for midscale prices. These establishments increasingly develop their own collect and delivery services. Simultaneously e-delivery platforms like Deliveroo enable consumers to enjoy restaurant-quality food in the comfort of their own homes. These are important trends for the packaging sector as both casual and formal restaurants need quality, luxury packaging to create a restaurant experience at home.

The fast casual dining trend is pressuring quick service restaurants to upgrade their packaging by innovative designs. Quality packaging helps creating a healthier brand image that appeals to millennials, the key target group. Design is crucial in the premiumised dining experience for which customers are willing to pay 40% more per meal. Besides attractive prints, the act of opening is considered an exciting part of the dining experience and innovative ways to open packages help to brand identities.  

Another key development is sustainability. The EU is committed to making 80% of the packaging waste recyclable or reusable by 2030. All over the world consumers demand more sustainable packaging for which they are willing to pay more. By substituting plastic, Expand-Polystyrene (EPS) or Styrofoam packaging with paperboard alternatives, out-of-home packaging is becoming increasingly sustainable. Although paperboard alternatives are preferable to plastics, the use of paper and especially recycled paper also poses technical challenges.

Adopting a cradle-to-cradle approach is not without difficulties. Recycled paper stock can be contaminated by mineral oils or polymer coatings, which are used to make disposable paper cups waterproof. This makes the recycled pulp unsuitable for re-use in food packaging for food safety reasons. To improve the recyclability of paper pulp for food packaging, new sustainable coatings are developed. Other routes to more sustainability are light-weighting and optimising food packaging, for example by omitting extraneous components.

It is evident that out-of-home packaging is a fast-growing market. New dining models demand premiumised paperboard solutions that emphasize on sustainability and recyclability. Innovative packaging enhances the dining experience through its premium look, its healthygourmet impression and its sustainability agenda. Out-of-home packaging is a highly innovative sector which demands for new technologies that align with broader trends.
Recently Smithers Pira, the worldwide authority on the packaging, paper and print industry supply chains, published a white paper on the European out-of-home packaging market, predicting the trends to 2022. Their study, commissioned by APP and based on extensive desk and primary research, forecasts a growth of this market of 6% to hit €6bn by 2020. The report was presented at May 4 at Interpack, during a session organized by APP.


Liz Wilks

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