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The global biodegradable cutlery market size was valued at USD 35.85 million in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 37.73 million in 2023 to USD 61.6 million by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 7.2% during the forecast period.
Biodegradable cutlery is produced by reinforcing natural fiber into resin, a polymer of renewable resources formed by compression or injection. It is made from materials, including cornstarch, bamboo, and sugarcane fiber. Biodegradable disposable cutlery is a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to plastic tableware. Natural biopolymers offer significant advantages, including degradability, biocompatibility, and biological safety, as plastic persists in the environment with environmental hazards. With the significant expansion in the food and beverage industry, this type of cutlery has an escalating demand in restaurants, fast food outlets, and hotels globally. In addition, due to their biodegradable and durable nature, they meet the packaging requirements of food products and extend their shelf life without harming the environment.
Uncertainties of the COVID-19 and Its Influence on Commercial Sector Negatively Impacted Market Growth
The coronavirus pandemic impacted the growth of various industries globally. Businesses navigated the pandemic's challenges while addressing the customer’s needs. To reduce the risk of contracting the COVID-19, restaurants and hotels removed reusable products, such as menus, vases, and tableware, including cutlery, plates, bowls, glasses, and utensils, and replaced them with single-use biodegradable tableware.
For instance, restaurants started providing salt and pepper in paper packets and ketchup and mustard in small single-use bowls. In addition, individuals at home also followed the same precautions and replaced all steel and plastic tableware with eco-friendly and bio-degradable tableware. Single-use item usage for serving food reduced the risk of spread and contamination. Additionally, taking necessary precautions reassures staff and customers that they won’t be handling previously touched and potentially contaminated products.
However, closed commercial sectors, ranging from high-end to quick-service restaurants, during the lockdown caused a steep decline in consumer demand for this cutlery. Moreover, recycling programs and manufacturing of biodegradable products were suspended, thus negatively impacted the market growth.
Growing Trend of Green Cutlery to Boost Market Expansion
There is an increasing need for environmentally appropriate substitutes due to growing environmental consciousness and the volume of plastic waste produced by disposable cutlery. Green cutlery is an excellent way to reduce the environmental impact and embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. They are eco-friendly, a popular and stylish choice, and a delightful complement to any dining setting for any occasion. Their popularity has increased since they are compostable and biodegradable, which means they decompose quickly. These dishes are increasingly well-liked by consumers to lessen their carbon footprint as they are produced from plant-based components, including cornstarch, wheat bran, and bamboo. For instance, they are a safer alternative to eat as they don't contain any hazardous chemicals that could contaminate food. This eco-friendly cutlery is compostable, which enables individuals to throw them in a compost bin and turn them into nutrient-rich soil for planting.
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Increase in Consumer Spending and Awareness of Sustainable Practices to Drive Market Growth
The sustainability movement is becoming prevalent today, with the public and private sectors starting to practice and regulate sustainability initiatives. Consumers now recognize sustainability as a critical driving force in their decision-making, cutlery and tableware included. Demand for biodegradable cutlery is increasing due to growing consumer awareness concerning environmental conservation, using bio-based or natural resources for manufacturing materials, and governments formulating regulations, such as plastic banning for effective use of natural resources and waste management.
The key factors driving product demand are the growing consumer interest in biodegradable materials, the rising consumer awareness of environmental concerns and the negative impacts of the use of non-biodegradable products, and the implementation of favorable government regulations that discourage the use of plastic tableware. With the rapid growth of the food and beverages sector, there is an ever-growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly cutlery in the restaurant, fast food centers, and hotel sectors. The growing interest in environment-friendly tableware and the growing awareness of the negative effects of plastic tableware are driving the growth of the biodegradation tableware market.
Changing Government Regulations are Propelling the Market Growth
The food industry is a massive consumer of disposable products, including packaging and tableware. The introduction of favorable government legislation banning plastic tableware, such as the Make in India movement, and encouraging swadeshi goods made of biodegradable stuff and other products is fueling the market growth. With the growth of the food and beverage industry, there is a growing need for environmentally friendly and organic cutlery in restaurants, fast food chains, and hotels globally. Regulations are driving the shift toward eco-friendly options in the food industry. Many countries and local governments are implementing regulations restricting or banning traditional plastic tableware and packaging.
Additionally, many companies implement sustainability goals and initiatives, often using eco-friendly tableware and packaging. These initiatives aim to reduce environmental impact of companies while improving their reputation and customer loyalty.
Key players focus on introducing different biodegradable paper or cardboard and plastic cutleries, which can be used for various purposes, such as serving and packaging food. They have introduced biodegradable natural plant extract cutlery items with high decomposing capacity. The rise in the innovation of these cutlery items is a prominent factor in the global biodegradable cutlery market growth.
High Prices, Adverse Effects of Non-Biodegradable Products, and Low Awareness May Hamper Market Growth
The cost of biodegradable cutlery is higher than traditional non-biodegradable cutleries. The low awareness and limited availability of biodegradable products will likely restrain demand. Moreover, biodegradable plastics are used instead of traditional plastics; however, due to their limited mechanical strength, synthetic fibers such as glass and carbon fibers are often employed to strengthen bioplastics, but they are not biodegradable and also emit greenhouse gases during disintegration, which will likely hamper market growth over the forecast period.
Additionally, the non-availability and requirement of necessary equipment, such as industrial composters in low-developed countries, to recycle and decompose biodegradable cutlery will negatively hamper the market growth.
Spoon Segment Dominates the Global Market due to Its Growing Usage in Restaurants, Canteens, and Homes
The market is segmented into spoon, fork, knife, and others based on product type. The spoon segment dominates the market as spoons are necessary for serving and tasting in restaurants, takeaway venues, office kitchens, canteens, and homes. Tasting is likely to be a big part of getting meals right. Hygiene standards have improved since the pandemic, bringing a shift to using eco-friendly spoons. The biodegradable spoons are smooth, kind on the mouth, and resistant to high and low temperatures. They’re also robust, suitable for tasting jobs, such as ice cream, and resilient in hot liquids. They’re 100% eco-friendly, can be washed and reused, and are fully compostable.
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Wood Segment Dominated the Market due to its Natural Constituents
The raw material segment is divided into wood, husk, paper, plastic, and others. The wood segment dominated the market in 2022. Numerous companies are conducting substantial R&D to develop low-cost biodegradable cutlery. For instance, in 2019, Green Science Alliance, a chemical firm, invented natural biomass composed of paper waste, wood, plants, and scrap trees. Due to its natural constituents, the material is completely biodegradable and recyclable.
The fastest-growing category is anticipated to be paper over the projected period. Many firms are doing comprehensive research and development to provide biodegradable utensils at a reasonable price. In March 2019, Green Science Alliance, a chemical corporation, invented a renewable compost of paper, waste timber, vegetables, and scrap trees.
Commercial Segment to Dominate the Market To High Usage of Product in Commercial Spaces
Based on the application, the market is segmented into residential and commercial.
Commercial applications segment dominated the market due to wide range of uses in hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and others. Hotels and restaurants are choosing an eco-friendly way of doing business; there is a rapid upsurge in the use of biodegradable type of cutlery in hospitals to avoid spreading coronavirus diseases. Hospitals and medical care facilities saw a sudden and quick increase in the demand for the products. Biodegradable cutleries are also used by many catering services companies to serve food in the office, as well as for many ceremonies and occasions, due to their sustainability and 100% safety. The catering industry is growing as it enters into mergers with other companies and provides food services to employees in remote areas; this growth is fueling the market. Hotels and restaurants also print their name on containers to increase brand visibility. Easy handling and cost-effectiveness are vital features boosting demand for biodegradable cutlery.
Moreover, the growing consumption of processed and ready-to-eat (RTE) food products and the increasing use of online food delivery applications due to busy lifestyles and the expanding purchasing power of individuals will positively impact market growth. Biodegradable cutlery is highly heat resistant and protects food from spilling; it also helps keep food hot for longer and is 100% safe and non-toxic. Residential application of biodegradable cutlery products is widening due to increasing spending pattern of consumers.
The global market is segregated into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East & Africa, and South America.
Asia Pacific Biodegradable Cutlery Market Size, 2019-2030 (USD Million)
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Europe accounts for the largest biodegradable cutlery market share in 2022. Innovative product development and raw material innovation have been the focus of several startups, as well as major producers of this type of cutlery. As the world's trend toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and plastic waste gains speed, the use of biodegradable tableware is expected to increase. Manufacturers in Europe focus on launching and introducing new products to diversify their product portfolios and expand manufacturing and distribution in the region. For example, in June 2023, Sabert, a U.S.-based global supplier of sustainable food packaging solutions, launched a new range of patented recyclable and compostable paper cutlery called EcoEdge.
Asia Pacific is projected to grow at a fast pace and register the highest CAGR over the forecast period owing to an increase in restaurants and food joints, as well as stringent regulations enforcing plastic bans in countries, such as China, India, and Australia. The use of wood cutlery, such as chopsticks, is an old tradition in China, Japan, and other Eastern Asian countries that has widened the availability of biodegradable utensils in the region. In addition, biodegradable cutlery has become a far more environmentally friendly alternative than plastic, with India becoming the first country to embrace biodegradable products. For the manufacture of eco-friendly knives, serving dishes, and packaging products that will drive up demand for biodegradable products, all kinds of plant biomass are being used: bagasse, rice husk, coconut coir, etc.
Increased awareness about the harmful effects of non-biodegradable plastic waste and growing demand for environmentally friendly, sustainably produced products is projected to lead to rapid growth in the North American biodegradable cutlery market over the forecast period. The Canadian government made a move to ban the manufacture, import, and sale of plastic products, including grocery bags, straws, butter sticks, cutlery, and takeout containers, at the end of 2022. A new line of knives, forks, and spoons known as EcoSys Cutlery aims to decrease plastic waste and pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower its carbon footprint in the hospitality industry. These key factors are anticipated to drive product demand in the region.
South America is one of the fastest-growing markets, increasingly contributing to the revenue of this industry. The drivers for the growth in the region are associated with rising disposable income and increasing consumer expenditure. According to the World Bank, consumer household spending in Argentina witnessed a 22.75% increase from USD 247.47 billion in 2020 to USD 303.77 billion in 2021. In addition, the e-commerce penetration is growing steadily owing to increasing smartphone penetration and wide availability of offers on e-commerce sites.
The market in the Middle East & Africa is driven by the region's demand for innovative and aesthetic cutlery. Improving living standards due to rising disposable income and the growing population with rising consumer spending also adds to the demand for biodegradable cutlery. According to Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), a property and retail conglomerate, retail spending by consumers in the UAE grew by 16% in the first half of 2022.
Key Players Focusing on Product Innovation and New Product Launches
Industry players have been adopting several competitive strategies, including product innovation and new product launches, to grow amid competition in the market. There has been a growing demand for innovative products in recent years. Major market players are investing in product innovation and participating in the R&D process to provide products to meet the needs of consumers today. New and innovative eco-friendly products are being introduced that are more durable and reusable. For instance, bamboo plates and containers are being introduced as bio-friendly and eco-friendly alternatives to plastic cutlery. These organic products are not toxic and offer a more attractive look to the tableware.
An Infographic Representation of Biodegradable Cutlery Market
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The market research report provides detailed market analysis and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, product types, raw materials, and applications. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the market outlooks several factors that have contributed to the market's growth over recent years and estimates the market forecast in the coming years.
CAGR of 7.2% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Million)
By Product Type
By Raw Material
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 35.85 million in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 61.6 million by 2030.
In 2022, the Asia Pacific market value stood at USD 8.84 million.
Growing at a CAGR of 7.2%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2023-2030).
During the forecast period, biodegradable wooden cutlery was the leading raw material segment.
Changing government regulations augment market growth.
Huhtamäki Oyj, Pactiv Evergreen Inc., BioPak, and Better Earth LLC are significant players in the global market.
Europe dominated the market share in 2022.
The growing awareness of biodegradable products in commercial facilities is anticipated to support market growth.
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