Berry Global Group, Inc. (NYSE: BERY) announced today plans to expand its foodservice packaging manufacturing operations in North America as part of its long-term strategic growth commitments. This more than $110 million investment will expand its proprietary and industry-leading polypropylene thermoforming capabilities to manufacture clear drink cups and lids for quick-service restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, and other foodservice markets. The clear design fills an increasing demand for a cup that showcases a premium brand image and beverage appeal and improves restaurant operation efficiencies while offering a more sustainable packaging option.
Foodservice brand owners are steadily increasing their forecasted volumes with Berry production for access to the Company’s 30-plus active patents across clear cups and lids. In addition, customized plastic cup and lid brand owner solutions are a rapidly increasing market trend, pulling volume from alternative substrates since 2017. As a result, Berry has demonstrated its market leadership, outpacing market trends growing its sales by a forecasted 60%*.
Polypropylene is viewed as one of the most sustainable and environmentally responsible transparent substrates available in the market today; it offers lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduced energy and water usage in comparison to PET. Berry’s increased capacity will produce clear cups and clear lids made of polypropylene (#5 PP), which can be recycled into new packaging or one of the many other end markets for PP. Polypropylene cups and containers are the third most curbside-recycled plastic by consumers, according to the 2019 U.S. Post-Consumer Plastic Recycling Data Dashboard.
Berry’s expanded capacity will also support future production of clear cups and lids that incorporate post-consumer resin and recyclable materials, in which Berry continues to invest.
“Foodservice brands are moving to meet their own sustainability goals, and polypropylene provides one of the lowest impact substrate options to help them get there,” said Bill Norman, president, Berry Global Consumer Packaging North America. “With Berry’s long record of innovation in foodservice packaging and this expanded capacity, we will deliver on the need to bring greater circularity to the disposable beverage cup market.”
This initiative is in line with Berry’s efforts to improve polypropylene curbside recycling. The company announced it has joined The Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling to increase recycling access for polypropylene. The coalition awarded $4.2 million in grants to thirteen recycling facilities to positively impact nearly fifteen million Americans, nearly 6% of the U.S. population.
The North American expansion – expected to be operational in 2022 – will add 200 new jobs at Berry facilities that will be announced soon.
*From a 2017 baseline