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Biodegradable cutlery is made by incorporating natural fibers into a matrix/resin, which is a polymer of renewable resources and is formed through a compression or injection process. It is an alternative to the non-biodegradable plastics used by the public. Biodegradable tableware such as spoons, forks, sporks, bowls, plates, and teacups offer major benefits including degradability, biocompatibility, and biological safety when compared with conventional plastic, which persists in the environment and raises environmental hazards. Biodegradable cutlery is suitable for serving hot and cold meals at temperatures ranging from -300 C to 850 C. Moreover, biodegradable materials degrade approximately 90% in about 180 days in the environment.
Rising concerns regarding the adverse effects of non-biodegradable plastics are one of the major factors favoring market expansion. Furthermore, using biodegradable cutlery helps reduce ocean pollution. For instance, in 2019, National Geographic, a US-based monthly magazine, stated that the ocean was polluted with 18 billion pounds of every type of single-use of plastic because of their inability to decompose. Additionally, stringent regulations by several governments across countries to prohibit the use of non-biodegradable plastics are anticipated to drive the demand for biodegradable cutlery in the coming years. Using biodegradable cutlery is essential for preventing infections and the spread of illnesses as it ensures a high level of hygienic standards due to their single-use, particularly important in hospitals or other places where contamination risk is high.
The sudden o COVID-19 outbreak spread worldwide, leaving no country unaffected by the pandemic in 2019-20. Several governments across countries implemented social distancing and lockdown norms. The ongoing pandemic has not only affected consumers’ health and quality of life but has also disrupted the global economy and supply chains. One positive aspect is that there has been a noticeable shift from eating out to online food delivery services throughout the months of lockdowns. During the lockdown months, there was a high demand for online food deliveries worldwide, and disposable cutleries and tableware were prioritized for health reasons, contributing significantly to product demand.
Furthermore, the most effective way to reduce the risk of becoming infected with covid-19 is to avoid contact with infected people and contaminated objects and surfaces. In response to this threat, restaurants are replacing reusable products such as menus, tableware, and cutleries including plates, bowls, glasses, spoons, knives, and utensils with single-use biodegradable tableware. These extra precautions ensure that staff and customers do not handle any previously touched and contaminated products. The number of consumers in home-quarantine across countries are taking various precautions, including replacing all steel and plastic tableware and cutleries with eco-friendly and biodegradable tableware and cutleries. This has led to increasing demand for biodegradable cutlery products.
The report will cover the following key insights:
The plastic segment holds the largest market share in the global biodegradable cutlery market. Plastics are used in almost every industry, including manufacturing and packaging. Their extensive usage is attributable to their flexibility in 3D modeling, durability, and ease of use during the manufacturing and production processes. The use of plastics has a downside in terms of its negative environmental impacts such as landfills, and plastic pollution. Plastics typically take years to degrade naturally in the environment. Thus, consumers are becoming more aware of the various environmental issues associated with plastics, leading to advancements in the production and use of biodegradable plastics. As biodegradable plastics are designed to break down or degrade when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, enzymes, bacteria, water, or wind abrasion. They are primarily made of natural plant materials or from raw materials such as orange peels, corn oil, switch grass, soybeans, micro-organism, or starch.
Biodegradable plastics decompose naturally in the environment and are recycled organically. The chemical structure of biodegradable plastics allows them to be easily broken down by natural microorganisms, resulting in a less harmful end product for the environment. Biodegradable plastics are perceived to be eco-friendlier than conventional plastics due to their environmental benefits. They are non-toxic as they do not contain any chemicals or toxins. Recycling helps in reducing landfill-related issues, and recycled bio-waste can also be used as compost or as renewable energy for biogas production.
The spoon segment accounts for the largest market share in the global biodegradable cutlery market. Spoons are the most essential element of cutlery that consumers use every day while eating. Spoon serves as a perfect tool for consuming liquid or semi-liquid foods. Moreover, spoons are used for a wide variety of purposes, including cooking, serving, measuring, stirring, and tossing ingredients. Furthermore, there are numerous types of spoons made from various materials and by various cultures for a wide range of uses and foods.
The household segment holds the largest share in the market. The increasing consumer awareness regarding the harmful effects of using non-biodegradable products has led to an increased demand for biodegradable cutlery. Furthermore, the use of biodegradable cutlery reduces the number of toxins that consumers absorb while eating, which influences consumers to purchase biodegradable cutleries. Additionally, several government restrictions prohibiting the use of plastic dinnerware and other products are favoring market expansion.
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Europe holds the largest share in the market. The European biodegradable cutlery market has grown substantially in recent years. Nearly half of the cutlery import value is sourced from developing countries, making Europe a lucrative market for cutlery. According to Trade Map, a trade statistics for international business development, European cutlery imports increased by 2.3% each year between 2015 and 2019, from €1.4 billion (US$ 1.58 billion) to €1.5 billion (US$ 1.69 billion). Following a decline in 2017, imports from developing countries reached €693 million (US$ 782.48 million) in 2019, which is comparable to their value in 2015. Furthermore, increased consumer interest in home cooking, social dining, and casual dining is propelling market growth in Europe.
Rising consumer demand for biodegradable cutlery has led manufacturers to develop sustainable and natural cutleries which protect food from contamination if stored for a longer period. Moreover, manufacturers are embarking on several strategic initiatives, including technological innovation, intensive research and development (R&D) for raw material innovation, and the launch of new products. Furthermore, major players are increasing their geographical reach, particularly in developed countries to achieve maximum technological penetration and customer reach.
By Raw Material
By End Use
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