Foodservice Disposables Market Primed For Growth

Go have lunch. That’s the advice to jan/san distributors who want to increase their market share of foodservice disposables in schools, hospitals and retail centers. It sounds simple, says T.W. MacDermott, president of the Clarion Group, a dining and hospitality services consulting firm in Kingston, New Hampshire, but it works. 

“The great thing about colleges and schools is that their campuses are wide open,” says MacDermott. “You can walk right in, find the dining hall and ask to see the manager and get to talk to them.  There is nothing better than making the face-to-face contact.”

Jan/san distributors have become attracted to the market for foodservice disposable items such as napkins, beverage cups and food containers, because, according to recent studies, that is where the money is at. A study by The Freedonia Group showed demand for foodservice disposables will increase 3.9 percent per year to $21.9 billion by 2019. Jan/san distributors are involved in only about 5 percent of current sales in this sector. 

“The reason we enjoy this style of business in terms of foodservice disposables and jan/san is that they are really a complement to each other and we feel we bring a good amount of value to our customers being able to offer both,” says Chris Nolan, president of H.T. Berry Company, a distributor in Canton, Massachusetts. 

The fastest growing market for foodservice disposables will be retail outlets, according to The Freedonia Group study. This segment includes grocery stores, warehouse clubs and convenience stores.

Jan/san distributors who set out to increase their share of the foodservice disposables market should first understand how the institutions that they are targeting budget for these items. Becoming familiar with budget line items, how much institutions typically spend on foodservice disposables and what fiscal pains they are feeling when it comes to the cost can all be worthwhile endeavors.

“The budget sensitivity is very high,” says Nolan. “With a lot of our customers and potential customers, there is a frustration in how much they use and how much they overuse, and we always get involved in discussions about eliminating waste.”

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Jan/san Distributors Can Break In To New Market Through Existing Customers