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Demand for takeout exacerbates shortages of coffee cups, food containers and plastic straws

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Demand for takeout is leading to shortage of to-go containers and plastic straws.


Demand for takeout exacerbates shortages of coffee cups, food containers and plastic straws

As customers return to restaurants and cafés in large numbers, demand for takeout is leading to shortage of coffee cups, to-go containers and plastic straws. Snags in the global supply chain, due to the pandemic, have created bottlenecks and new challenges for companies and businesses worldwide.

Supply chain challenges, for restaurant businesses, have resulted in rising food costs and shortages of key ingredients like chicken. And with instances of COVID-19 outbreak, consumers are opting for takeaways more often. Majority aren’t eating their meals in sit-ins. Higher demand for takeout containers, napkins and to-go cups are putting even more pressure on restaurants’ supply chains.

Vidya Mani, Professor of Business Administration, University of Virginia Darden School of Business, said that with the global economy restarting again in bits and pieces, and at different rates of speed depending on what part of the world you live in, shortages of products across various sectors can be expected. As a result of these unpredictable reopening policies and subsequent challenges in accurately forecasting future demand, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with these new jolts of demand as they continue to experience supply crunches in components and raw materials.

According to the NPD Group, off-premise restaurant orders were up 20% in September compared with the same time two years ago. CNBC report said that packaging companies that manufacture takeout containers, straws and to-go cups for restaurants have had to deal with soaring costs for shipping containers, a nationwide labor crunch and spending more on key materials, like resin and paper.

International Paper, in late October, said it absorbed an additional $50 million of supply chain costs for its export operations in its latest quarter. The company no longer makes food service containers but does manufacture corrugated packaging and absorbent pulp, which can both be used for takeout packaging.

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Meanwhile, as food sellers struggle with packaging problem, some environmentalists are urging customers to take along their own containers for takeaway orders. They argue that if more people do that, it would not only ease the container shortage, but also help the environment by reducing plastic and Styrofoam waste.

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