A trade group representing those in the food service packaging industry says its members think 2016 is going to be pretty good for business.
The Foodservice Packaging Institute is out with results from its 17th annual state of the industry survey.
A total of 65 respondents provided input from a range of companies, including raw material and machinery suppliers, converters, distributors and operators.
And 65 percent of the North American manufacturers who participated in the survey reported expansion plans through new construction, expansion of existing sites or through mergers and acquisitions.
And more than half of the converters who participated said they plan to purchase new machinery this year, the Falls Church, Va.-based trade group said.
“Although challenges remain year over year, so does confidence in growth,” said Lynn Dyer, president of FPI, in a statement.
The fast casual dining sector, which includes restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread, is seen by respondents has having the greatest potential for growth in the next five years.
This is thanks to the growing attention from millennial generation customers and the migration of customers from traditional quick- and full-service restaurants, FPI said.
Areas of concern for respondents include: margin compression; the state of the global economy; development of new products to meet customer demands; public perception of packaging as waste; and environmental activism, the group said.
Some 57 percent of respondents experienced volume growth in 2015. The number was nearly 60 percent for profit growth in 2015. More than 75 percent expect volume growth this year, and about half expect profit growth, FPI reported.