Burger King and McDonald’s have revamped their packaging, following the more minimalist and neo-retro trends in graphic design right now. But, more importantly than the piece of paper that your burger comes in, those same companies are starting to focus more on reusable packaging in their food.
Because for as much as customers like a fresh look on their wrappers, businesses are moving toward a more sustainable future, and single-use paper and plastic is one of the first casualties.
In a survey by Adweek and Harris Poll, 81% of customers said they’re concerned about the litter and pollution that comes from quick service restaurants. Think plastic straws, bags, napkins and, yes, packaging.
Burger King recently launched a reusable packaging program where customers could use and return sandwich containers and cups. Starbucks followed suit, announcing a reuse and recycling program for cups in some locations.
Two more major restaurants have undertaken similar initiatives.
McDonald’s announced its own reusable packaging program around the same time Burger King did. Loop, the same reuse platform that’s working with Burger King for its reusable packaging rollout, is working with the Golden Arches in the U.K. on a pilot program later this year.
We're sharing big news today!
It's official - McDonald's is the first to partner with Loop to test a reusable cup for hot drinks on-the-go that can be returned to be cleaned and reused, again and again.
The pilot program will launch in selected stores in the 🇬🇧 in 2021. pic.twitter.com/i7a0Aa0l3B
— Loopstore UK (@loopstoreuk) September 9, 2020
“The idea is that it truly is a system where, for convenience’s sake, you’re going to the store and there’ll be Loop drop-offs everywhere,” Loop spokesman Eric Rosen told Adweek.
Canada's beloved coffee chain Tim Horton's is doing the same, which might even put pressure on some U.S. competitors like Dunkin', which previously announced other eco-friendly changes to its packaging and drinkware.
If that’s the case, and companies adopt Loop like they’ve adopted Zoom during the pandemic, then more and more of these restaurants will be inclined to use reusable branded packaging.
It will take a lot of time before we’re living in the future that Rosen imagines, with Loop drop-off stations being as common as mailboxes. But, big-time companies like Burger King and McDonald’s wouldn’t invest in these programs if there wasn’t something to them.
Platforms like Loop and Ridwell (which is involved in Starbucks' reusable packaging program) will also continue to pop up as these practices become more a part of our lives.
McDonald's hasn't put a time frame on when its reusable product program will officially kick in. And it hasn't announced anything in the U.S., so there's still likely a wait ahead of us before these programs really gain any footing.
But it's a sure thing that the packaging landscape as we know it is changing.