Taco Bell open to new packaging ideas

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: September 30, 2013 2:28 pm ET
Updated: October 1, 2013 8:10 am ET

Image By: Bill Bregar, Plastics News Matthew Voigt, Taco Bell's packaging manager.

Related to this story

Topics Packaging, Thermoforming
Companies & Associations Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE)

ATLANTA — Taco Bell's head of packaging is encouraging thermoformers to move faster and use creativity to grab business at the Mexico fast-food giant.

"A lot of times speed and cost is what keeps plastic out of our business," Taco Bell packaging manager Matthew Voigt, who spoke Sept. 10 at the SPE Thermoforming Conference in Atlanta.

Voigt said Taco Bell spends about $200 million to $250 million on packaging a year. A good portion of that is plastics, which competes against paper. Last year, he said, the restaurant chain approved three product launches, working with major thermoformers and investing $1 million in tooling.

But Voigt said paper packaging suppliers are able to change product design pretty quickly and inexpensively. Not so with plastics: "It takes 16 weeks to get new tools ready for a national program. Why? Let's do it in one month," he said.

A change in packaging strategy at Taco Bell could lead to more plastic for its packaging, which he called "a touch point" with customers. Voigt said his position recently moved from engineering packaging to using packaging as a marketing tool.

An 11-year Taco Bell veteran, Voigt said his focus is on taking out weight out and cost for the last decade. Now Taco Bell officials consider packaging an investment — though cost is still an issue.

The chain offers food you can't get at the burger chains; that makes the business different, he said. "We want to do more of that and we want partners to help us do that."

Voigt said Taco Bell also wants to become more sustainable, using as much recycled content as possible and making sure its packaging is recyclable.

"When you come to us, we want creative ideas," he said. "Bring it to us, talk to us."

Taco Bell has 6,500 stores in the U.S., said Voigt, who worked in the perfume industry and nutritional supplements before food. As a high schooler in Michigan, he said he ate at Taco Bell nearly every day. "When Taco Bell called [with a job offer], I said yes. I love Taco Bell," he said.

"If you can bring solutions to age-old problems and make them work in our business, we will give you scale to support that, whether it's material, or technology, or function and forms. We're ready for it," he said. "We want to be your support system for that."

About 10 thermoformers lined up to talk to Voigt after his speech.


Comments

Taco Bell open to new packaging ideas

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: September 30, 2013 2:28 pm ET
Updated: October 1, 2013 8:10 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

French investment firm buys Alabama-based CSP Technologies

January 30, 2015 1:10 pm ET

A French investment firm has finalized a deal to buy CSP Technologies Inc., an Auburn, Ala., company that makes specialty plastics packaging.    More

Image

Report: Brands are falling short on packaging sustainability

January 29, 2015 5:19 pm ET

Packaging in general, and plastic packaging in particular, has a long way to go in terms of recycling, according to a pair of environmental groups.    More

Image

Lund adds to aftermarket auto products portfolio with buy of Bushwacker

January 29, 2015 2:49 pm ET

Lund International Inc. has expanded its portfolio of plastic aftermarket vehicle accessories by acquiring Bushwacker Inc.    More

Image

Profit dips at Bemis Co. Inc.

January 29, 2015 2:04 pm ET

Profit dipped for Bemis Co. Inc. for all of 2014, but were up during the fourth quarter in what the company's leader called a “pivotal year....    More

Image

Falcon Plastics expands in South Dakota

January 29, 2015 11:45 am ET

Falcon Plastics Inc. is putting the final touches on a 60,000 square foot addition that will nearly double the size of its Brookings, S.D., manufactur...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events