Disposable Cutlery Market

2021 Analysis and Review: Disposable Cutlery Market by Product Type – Spoon, Fork, and Knife for 2021 and 2031

About the Report

Disposable cutlery comprises of disposable or single-use products usually provided in fast-food restaurants, catering services, airlines, take-away restaurants, etc. for consuming different types of food items in more classy way. Increasing consumption of food items outside of home, particularly at food service outlets and institutional food service outlets have been fuelling the demand for reliable disposable cutlery solutions.

In its new study, ESOMAR-certified market research and consulting firm Future Market Insights (FMI) offers insights about key factors driving demand for disposable cutlery. The report tracks the global sales of disposable cutlery in 20+ high-growth markets, along with analyzing the impact COVID-19 has had on the disposable cutlery industry.

What are Prospects for Disposable Cutlery Sales in Future in Comparison to Historical Pattern?

Increasing emphasis on hygiene and easy product availability have resulted in high usage of disposable cutlery in end-use applications. Advantages such as recyclable nature, low cost, and appealing designs of disposable cutlery have been favoring their increasing use.

Thanks to higher degree of awareness, consumer are largely shifting towards wooden and bioplastic cutlery products, as they offer more sustainable solutions in terms of finished products. Besides this, innovative materials used in the next generation disposable cutlery such as plant starch, bamboo, and sugarcane are now increasing consumer confidence on these products.

Steered by changing consumer preferences, an increasing number of manufacturers, start-ups and established players alike, are offering bespoke biodegradable disposable cutlery products in place of plastic materials.

According to FMI’s analysis, disposable cutlery sales estimated to clock a CAGR of 4.4% between 2021 and 2031, in comparison to historic CAGR of 3.4%, exhibited between 2016 and 2020.

Disposable cutlery is considered highly useful and convenient mode of delivering customer services in food service outlets. Moreover, this type of cutleries enable them to serve food products in more stylish way. The market is projected to expand post the pandemic due to the increasing demand for wrapped disposable cutlery solutions due to health and hygiene risk often associated with dispensed form of cutlery.

Besides this, the manufactures are providing disposable cutlery products in the dispensers to help in dispensing fork or knife in more efficient way. In 2019, Eco-Products, a Novolex Company, introduced a line of biodegradable utensils for use in cutleries and a new dispenser that offers customers one spoon, fork, or knife at a time. These developments present a positive outlook for growth.

Why Disposable Cutlery Products Are Trending?

Disposable cutlery is gaining popularity across various regions. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, people are more conscious about health and safety measures. Therefore, gradually they are shifting towards disposable cutlery which ensures better hygiene and are considered safer in comparison to reusable cutlery products. Additionally, disposable cutlery reduces the risk of infection, as these are disposed of after single use.  With the increase in hygiene standards as a new social trend, the global disposable cutlery consumption is expected to gain new heights during the forecast period.

FMI team analysed that more than 85% disposable cutlery is made up of plastic such as polypropylene, polystyrene, and polylactic acid. Although the consumers and key players are moving towards sustainability and use of eco-friendly material such as wood, sustainable materials still hold a very small pie in the global market out of total consumption.

Nonetheless with various innovations underway and rising consciousness towards toward environmental protection, the share of sustainable materials will increase. For instance, Triangle Tree has recently launched Ying-Yang Utensils, which include eco-friendly chopsticks. Besides this, higher focus on research will aid the overall expansion of the market. The Bio-Plastics Europe Project, initiated in October 2019, for example has remained a key force behind research on use of bioplastic across a range of applications, including disposable cutlery.

How are Growth of Home Delivery and Online Food Services Driving Disposable Cutlery Market?

Due to growing disposable income, changing lifestyles, and rapid urbanisation, particularly in emerging markets, consumer preference for takeaway or ready-to-eat food is rising. In addition, the corporate work culture contributing to out-of-home eating habits is also strengthening the market for single-use cutlery disposables for food service.

In addition, the key factor driving the growth of the demand for disposable cutlery is customer preference for cost-effective and convenient food service solutions.

  • In the food and beverage sector, there has been a dynamic change in the pattern of consumer consumption. Advent of online food delivery service providers such as Swiggy and Zomato is backing growth in India. Besides this, increasing internet penetration backing the food delivery industry growth has been creating lucrative opportunities for food disposable and single-use cutlery manufacturers.
  • According to FMI, China's online food service industry is projected to expand rapidly at 30 percent in the next few years, creating lucrative opportunities for disposable cutleries sales.

How is Changing Business Model Affecting Disposable Cutlery Suppliers in Emerging Countries?

A recent trend among food service providers has been favoring overall growth. There is increasing focus on expanding their businesses online or starting quick service restaurants (QSR). The increasing number of worldwide multinational QSR’s is attributable for the rise in demand for disposables and single-use cutlery. Disposable cutleries are considered ideal solutions for curbing expenditure on cleaning and maintaining containers for serving. This will also help chain operators to minimize labor costs and make use of the internal resource to boost efficiency and serve customers.

On an average there has been a significant shift in consumption pattern. An FMI study revealed that online food delivery platforms in emerging countries such as India offers nearly 40% return on investment. According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (Assocham), nearly 50 percent of the population of India eats out in urban areas at least eight times a month, compared to 14 times in the US, 9 times in China, 10 times in Thailand, and 11 times in Brazil. The aforementioned data is indicative of lucrative opportunities disposable cutleries sales across emerging nations.

How Rising Demand for Wood-based Cutlery Create Opportunity for Disposable Cutlery?

Due to strict laws and regulations against the use of plastic cutlery, there has been a change in demand for biodegradable cutlery made from wood in recent years. Customers now prefer environmentally friendly items made from wood for food service.

  • In 2018, KFC, McDonald's, and several other fast food chains stopped using plastic cutlery and straws in several countries like India, Singapore, France, etc. All these fast food chains are using paper straws and wooden cutlery as a replacement for plastic cutlery and straws.

Companies are focused on launching products with unique textures, graphics (on-pack promotions), eye-catching colours, and creative concepts to shake customer decisions and distinguish product offerings. Consumers can use wooden cutlery for hot food and cold food, desserts, food sampling or outdoor festivals and events. Disposable cutlery solution provider can leverage this opportunity by introducing new product ranges catering specifically to for eco-conscious consumers.

Why Consumers are Preferring Wrapped Disposable Cutlery?

Conventionally, dispensed cutlery has been prominently used in the end use application such as food service outlets, institutional service outlets and in households. However, from last few years and emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, wrapped cutlery products are majorly preferring by consumers, due to associated risk of health and hygiene. Wrapped cutlery in form of individual packets or in dispensers, assure the high level of hygiene on the table tops.

Most prominent companies such as Huhtamäki Oyj, Georgia-Pacific LLC, Pactiv LLC, Novolex Holdings, Inc., Genpak, LLC, etc. are engaged in offering wrapped cutlery packaging solutions, and with rapid advancement and R&D going in the product innovation and dropping prices are anticipated to further drive the wrapped disposable cutlery consumption.

Country-wise Insights

U.S. Disposable Cutleries Sales Supported by QSR Growth

As per the FMI analysis, the U.S. is likely to generate solid demand for disposable cutlery over the forecast period. One of the key factors supporting growth is online food shopping which will otherwise play a significant role in demand for disposable cutlery. Consumers in United States are now more likely to shop for packaged food products via online stores compared to others.

Food services market growth in the U.S. is supported by increasing digitization, which has been presenting conducive environment for disposable cutleries sales. The presence of some of the leading food chains including McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Hardee’s, Jack in a Box, among others has caused nationwide expansion of quick service restaurants. This is in turn boosting disposable cutleries sales in the country.

Germany’s Food Service Industry to Benefit Disposable Cutlery

Foodservice sales in Germany soared to their highest level in 2019. The industry has been helped by a low unemployment rate, a rising population, and a steady change in customer life that tends to make food service as a facility more striking. Due to the involvement of several small and foreign players, with a plurality of full-service and fast-service restaurants operating in the country, the food service industry is highly fragmented in the country.

In addition, there has been an increasing trend of providing customers with more value-added services. In 2018, German food service revenue increased by 3.1 percent to US$ 99.01 Bn, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FAS, with all three main market segments, including restaurant, hotel and institutional, exhibiting increased sales. Growth in these segments are indicative of increasing opportunities for disposable cutlery sales.

How is Food Service Growth Affecting Disposable Cutleries Sales in the U.K.?

According to the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, the U.K. food service sector is worth a staggering £57 bn and is the 4th leading employer in the country. Encompassing over 362,679 outlet types, including pubs, bars, hotels, and beyond, the U.K. food service sector offers a bustling market for disposable cutlery.

Prospects for sales within the U.K. is greatly influenced by changing behavior pattern of consumers. During the extended period of lockdown, there has been an obvious shifting from eating out to delivered services. Despite restaurants and food chains opening up, inclination for getting food delivered is unlikely to wither away.

This paradigm shift to, and increase in, food delivery services from eating out in cafes and restaurants is perceived to be a part of long-term impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ consumption habits. With food delivery services bolstering, solid demand for disposable cutlery is expected in the near future due to the sheer focus on hygiene, besides convenience and cost-effectiveness.

Why Key Players Are Eyeing on China Market?

As per FMI, China disposable cutlery consumption is increasing at a high pace. Local players and consumers, alike, have been showing increasing inclination towards bamboo based cutlery, which are easy to degrade and reduces carbon impact. Furthermore, the government in China has recently unveiled its five year plan, in which it has expressed its intent to ban single use plastic products and containers such as plastic bags, tableware, and many other. This will have significant impact on increasing production and sales of wood based cutlery in coming decade. Therefore an increasing number of key players are manufacturing wooden cutlery and are trying to capitalize on prevalent opportunities in China.

How is QSR Expansion Supporting Disposable Cutlery Sales in India?

QSR growth in India is supported by evolving lifestyle, growing nuclear families, and influence of West. The quick service restaurants constitute a significant share of the food services sector in India and it is expected to continue expanding at an accelerated pace through 2031. Expansion across small cities, with tailwinds from novel dine-in formats has been crucial at enabling disposable cutlery sales.

Besides this, the rise in cloud kitchen concepts, which only deliver food and do not have arrangement for dine-in, have been critical to the growth of the overall market. These cloud kitchens have been focusing on enhancing consumer experience. Some of them are even offering 100% compostable packaging, which has been aiding overall expansion of the market.  

Category-wise Insights

Which is More Preferred Disposable Cutlery?

Disposable spoons are in high demand and are expected to continue dominating through the course of the forecast period. According to FMI, disposable spoons sales are likely to rise positively after experiencing negative growth as restaurants and cafes remained shuttered amid COVID-19. With the food service chain gradually returning to normalcy, demand for disposable spoons is expected to rise positively. FMI has forecast the segment to exhibit 1.5% Y-o-Y growth in 2021.

Which is More Preferred Fabrication Process for Disposable Cutlery?

Thermoforming is the more preferred fabrication process for disposable cutleries. It accounts for over 58% of the global market in terms of fabrication process. While share held by die cutting is significantly less, its uptake is expected to increase at a higher pace in the coming years. The process yields uniformity in final product and the speed is also a positive factor, which is expected to enable growth in the segment.

Why are Wrapped Disposable Cutlery More Preferred?

The report indicates that by cutlery type, wrapped cutlery segment is estimated to exhibit 200 BPS by the end of 2030. This is mainly due to rising consumer’s inclination towards health and hygiene while having personal food products in the food service and institutional service outlets. On the other hand, dispensed cutlery segment is estimated to lose 200 BPS by the end of forecast period.

Who is the Leading End User of Disposable Cutlery?

Food service outlets are expected to gain market share by 140 BPS of current market share which is the mature side of the market. The segment have already captured around 60% of the disposable cutlery market share. This is attributable to the rapid expansion of hotels, cafes and quick service restaurants (QSRs) globally.

Which is More Preferred Channel for Disposable Cutlery Sales?

Retailers will continue accounting for maximum sales of disposable cutleries. According to FMI, sales via retail channels will reach 43% in 2021. The higher number of supermarkets, convenience stores, hypermarkets, specialty channels, and other retailers has been maximizing sales prospects in the channel. While direct sales will remain second-leading among sales channels, growth exhibited by e-retail is expected to happen at a higher pace. 

Competitive Landscape

The global market for disposable cutlery is fragmented with key producers concentrating on offering customized solutions as per consumer preferences. Leading are focusing on optimizing production, extending their scope globally, and offering sustainable solutions to gain traction.

Some of the companies are aiming at strategic acquisition of new market entrants while others are focusing on product launches.

For instance, Pactiv LLC, one of the global leaders in disposable cutlery products provides, offer a full line-up of wrapped cutlery for increased cleanliness and sanitation.

Manufacturers of disposable cutlery are also constantly trying to keep up with the green trends.  For instance, in 2020, one European company, ReFork Industries OÜ have claimed that, it has developed 100% biodegradable material that has been using in the production of cutlery products in place of disposable plastics.

Some of the leading companies operating in the market are:

  • Huhtamaki Oyj
  • DOpla S.p.A.
  • Pactiv LLC
  • Gold Plast SpA
  • D&W Fine Pack LLC
  • Anchor Packaging Inc.
  • Georgia-Pacific LLC
  • Novolex Holdings, Inc.
  • Dart Container Corporation
  • Genpak, LLC
  • Biopac UK Ltd
  • I.L.P.A. S.p.A. Group
  • Vegware Ltd
  • Hotpack Group
  • Fast Plast A/S

*The list is not exhaustive, and only for representational purposes. Full competitive intelligence with SWOT analysis available in the report.

Scope of the Report



Forecast Period


Historical Data Available for


Market Analysis

USD Million for value and Mn Units for Volume

Key Regions Covered

North America, Latin America, Europe, East Asia, South Asia, Oceania Middle East & Africa

Key Countries Covered

US, Canada, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, GCC Countries, Turkey, Northern Africa, South Africa

Key Segments Covered

Product Type,  Fabrication Process, Cutlery Type, End Use, Sales Channel and Region

Key Companies Profiled

  • Huhtamaki Oyj
  • DOpla S.p.A.
  • Pactiv LLC
  • Gold Plast SpA
  • D&W Fine Pack LLC
  • Anchor Packaging Inc.
  • Georgia-Pacific LLC
  • Novolex Holdings, Inc.
  • Dart Container Corporation
  • Genpak, LLC
  • Biopac UK Ltd
  • I.L.P.A. S.p.A. Group
  • Vegware Ltd
  • Hotpack Group
  • Fast Plast A/S

Report Coverage

Market Forecast, Brand share analysis, Competition intelligence, DROT analysis, Market Dynamics and Challenges, Strategic Growth Initiatives

Customization & Pricing

Available upon Request

Key Questions Answered in the Report

Q1. Which is the most lucrative market for disposable cutlery?

The U.S. currently spearheads growth in North America and is regarded as a leading market for disposable cutlery. It is expected to account for above 86% of products sold in North America.

Q2. Which is the top-selling disposable cutlery product type?

Spoon is the most preferred disposable cutlery product in the market. The demand for spoon products is expected to increase over the forecast period owing to the demand for wood-based and edible cutlery disposable cutlery solutions.

Q3. Which fabrication process is the most preferred in the market?

Thermoforming is highly preferred fabrication process for manufacturing disposable cutlery solution. This segment holds over 60% market share due to its durability, and stability in manufacturing process.

Q4. Who are some of the leading companies offering disposable cutlery?

Some of the leading companies offering disposable cutlery are Huhtamaki Oyj, DOpla S.p.A., Pactiv LLC, D&W Fine Pack LLC, Anchor Packaging Inc., Georgia-Pacific LLC, Novolex Holdings, Inc., Genpak, LLC and among others.

Q5. Which end user exhibits higher demand for disposable cutlery?

As per FMI Analysis, food service outlets are expected to account for increasing sales of disposable cutlery. This is expected to be a result of growing demand for disposable cutlery in quick service restaurants. 

Enquiry before Buying

  • Is this research conducted by Future Market Insights?

    Yes, the research has been conducted by expert analysts of Future Market Insights through a combination of primary research and secondary research. To know more about how the research was conducted, you can speak to research analyst.

  • What research methodology is followed by FMI?

    FMI follows a methodology that encompasses demand side assessment of the market, and triangulates the same through supply side analysis. This methodology is based on use of standard market structure, methods and definitions. Request detailed methodology.

  • Who are the respondents for primary research?

    FMI speaks to stakeholders across the spectrum, including C-level executives, distributors, product manufacturers, industry experts. For a full list of primary respondents, please reach out to us.

  • What are the sources of secondary research?

    FMI conducts extensive secondary research through proprietary databases, paid databases, and information available in the public domain. We refer to industry associations, company press releases, annual reports, investor presentations, and research papers. More information about desk research is available upon request

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Key Segments

Product Type

  • Spoon
    • Plastic
      • Polypropylene (PP)
      • Polystyrene (PS)
      • Poly lactic Acid (PLA)
    • Wood
  • Fork
    • Plastic
      • Polypropylene (PP)
      • Polystyrene (PS)
      • Poly lactic Acid (PLA)
    • Wood
  • Knife
    • Plastic
      • Polypropylene (PP)
      • Polystyrene (PS)
      • Poly lactic Acid (PLA)
    • Wood

Fabrication Process

  • Thermoforming
  • Die Cutting
  • Injection Molding

Cutlery Type

  • Wrapped Cutlery
  • Dispensed Cutlery

End Use

  • Food Service Outlets
    • Hotels
    • Restaurants & Cafes
    • Quick Service Restaurants (QSR)
  • Institutional Food Services
    • Cinemas
    • Airline & Railway Catering
    • Schools & Offices
    • Hospitals
  • Household Use

Sales Channel

  • Manufacturers (Direct Sales)
  • Distributors
  • E-retail
  • Retailers
    • Hypermarkets
    • Supermarkets
    • Convenience Stores
    • Specialty Stores
    • Discount Stores & Warehouse/Wholesale Clubs


  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • East Asia
  • South Asia
  • Middle East and Africa (MEA)
  • Oceania

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Disposable Cutlery Market