Retail stores grab 6% share of foodservice
Seizures of sham goods by the (sobering) numbers
Food makers boost efforts to pump up fiber content
Job satisfaction high for packaging professionals
SOURCES FOR CURRENT RESIN PRICES


RETAIL MEAL/SNACK SOLUTIONS BY DAY PART
Meals bought at retail stores and consumed within six hours (excludes convenience stores)

Retail stores grab 6% share of foodservice

New opportunities emerge for films and bags.

Retail foodservice, meaning food, drug, discount, department and club stores, represent 6% of the roughly 62 billion commercial foodservice meals and snacks consumed in a year, according to a report from NPD Group.

This constitutes a 2% increase through mid-2008 compared with the previous year. That may not sound like much, but quick-service restaurants (QSRs) increased only 1% over that period, while full-service restaurants declined.

Among all retail meals and snacks, supper represents the day part with the smallest share, with 17%. But it’s also the fastest growing, while it’s a declining segment for QSRs.

“Consumers’ increasing use of foodservice for ready-made meals has long been recognized by grocery retailers as an opportunity,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst and author of the Retail Meal and Snack Solutions report. “For some time, retail stores have offered prepared foods in the deli department, but have now expanded foodservice offerings to include a variety of cold and hot ready-to-consume meals and snacks.”

This could represent new business for flexible packaging. Much of this food is typically packaged in lidded trays, offering opportunities for film. But more and more retailers are looking for more environmental options, such as easy-carry bags.

Seizures of sham goods by the (sobering) numbers

Does the staggering number of busts-which represented a 38% increase in domestic value over 2007-mean a boom for counterfeit products?

According to Brand Protection Council, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently reported that seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods in 2008 reached a record high. In 2008, $272 million worth of goods were seized for intellectual property rights (IPR) violations, a number that’s driven by both increased vigilance and mounting threats from phony products. For packagers, the numbers mean it’s time to roll up the sleeves: There’s more work in anti-counterfeiting to be done.

• $221 million: Domestic value of counterfeit goods seized from China-the top trading partner for IPR seizures-accounting for 81% of the total value ($272 million).

• 124%: Percentage of increase (over 2007) in domestic value of IPR seizures of products posing potential safety and security risks, including pharmaceuticals, perfumes, electric products, batteries, cigarettes and technology components.

• 152%: Increase in domestic value (over 2007) of counterfeit pharmaceuticals seized-from $11 million to $28 million.

Converters can add a variety of anti-counterfeiting features to flexible packaging to help their customers better secure their products. For more details, read our article “Brand security starts with packaging.”

Food makers boost efforts to pump up fiber content

As consumers go back to basics, food makers do the same with their packaged foods.

In the U.S., the percentage of new food products claiming to be high in fiber reached 6.3% in 2008, up from 5.2% in 2006 according to Datamonitor’s Product Launch Analytics. Companies touting high fiber contents in their products include multinationals like PepsiCo, Kraft, Campbell Soup, Kellogg and Dannon. Foods now bearing the high fiber mark include products familiar to flexible packaging converters, like bread and granola bars.

But products in the high fiber category run the gamut, too, and have grown to include toaster pastries, chips, yogurt and drink mixes. For example, Snyder’s of Hanover’s new MultiGrain All Natural Tortilla Chips include whole grains and tout a higher fiber content than regular tortilla chips. Also, Dannon recently added a “With Fiber” extension to its Activia Lowfat Yogurt product sold in the U.S.

The Datamonitor report points out that fiber plays a key role in satiety, that feeling of fullness that can help reduce snacking to ultimately control body weight. To help satisfy hunger, Kraft Foods has added “On the Go Hunger Satisfaction Drink Mix” to its Crystal Light brand. Per serving, the powdered drink mix contains five grams of fiber and three grams of protein. Likewise, Tree Top Inc. offers its “Tree Top Trim Enlightened Fruit Beverage,” which is said to help promote a healthy metabolism and curb appetite with ingredients like L-Carnitine and Chromium.

Although many of the new high fiber products do not make any overt weight loss or weight control claims, the report suggests it’s only a matter of time before they do.

Satisfaction with Wages and Earnings
Source: Institute of Packaging Professionals, 630-544-5050; www.iopp.org

Job satisfaction high for packaging professionals

IoPP salary survey shows overall career contentment.

Happy workers are usually productive workers. Packaging professionals must be productive because they’re pretty happy. So says the 2008 Salary Survey from the Institute of Packaging Professionals.

Nearly 70% of survey respondents (from a base of 1,610) are Very Satisfied (32%) or Somewhat Satisfied (37%) with their current working conditions. Another 16% are Neutral, and only 15% are Somewhat Dissatisfied (12%) or Very Dissatisfied (3%).

What’s surprising about this is that many of these same respondents (43% of a respondent base of 1,612) indicate that they are overworked: 7% are Extremely Overburdened and 36% are Somewhat Overburdened. But that leaves almost 60% who are not too busy or are looking for more duties: 36% are Neutral; 18% Desire Some Additional Responsibilities; and 3% Desire Many Additional Responsibilities.

Perhaps packaging professionals are happy because they feel they’re paid well. The Average Total Compensation in 2008 was $101,879 (base of 1,188). From a base of 1,607 respondents, nearly 60% are satisfied with their wages and earnings: 22% are Very Satisfied and 37% are Somewhat Satisfied.

Less than a quarter of respondents are dissatisfied with their wages and earnings: 19% are Somewhat Dissatisfied and 4% are Very Dissatisfied. The remaining 18% are Neutral.

A vast majority of survey respondents are happy enough to stay put in their current job. Only 10% said Definitely Yes that they were actively seeking a new job in 1009. Of the rest (from a base of 1,617 respondents), 18% said Definitely No; 33% said Not Likely; 17% are Neutral; and 22% said Possibly.

Who are these satisfied packaging professionals? They’re your customers, co-workers and employees. From a base of 1,614, 50% of respondents are End Users of Packaging Materials/Services; 35% are Suppliers of Packaging Materials/Services; 9% are Both; and 6% are Other.

SOURCES FOR CURRENT RESIN PRICES
Chemical Market Associates Inc.
DeWitt & Co. Inc.
ICIS
IDES Inc.
Plastics News