Launched in 2013, Footprint is a plant-based packaging company created by former Intel engineers Troy Swope and Yoke Chung. They sought to “tackle food packaging’s environmental and human-health problems” and wean corporations off single-use plastics.
The inspiration for the business started at Intel, when Swope realized the packaging of its semiconductors wasn’t optimal. “One of the world’s most advanced tech companies was shipping half-million-dollar bundles of microchips in plastic containers that leached volatile organic compounds.” He put together a team that designed new packaging, which saved Intel $350 million over a four-year period.
At Footprint, Swope and Chung seek to transform the grocery industry. Plastic has become so prevalent in food packaging that many companies fit it hard to switch to something more eco-friendly. Footprint uses materials like virgin newsprint and double-lined kraft, alongside “patented food-safe chemistry” to produce nontoxic, compostable meat trays, shelf-stable cups, and oil-proof microwavable bowls that can stay frozen for 180 days.
Its successes are many and include helping ConAgra move its Healthy Choice frozen line from plastic containers to decomposable bowls; supplying paper straws to Whole Foods and Chick-fil-A; and creating nontoxic packaging to chains like Sweetgreen. Currently, Footprint is devising alternative packaging for brands including Philips, Bose, and Target.
The company has 1,200 employees and factories in the U.S. and Mexico.