The biodegradable packaging solutions are finding increasing application in packaging due to their low environmental impact, growing focus on sustainability, government emphasis on efficient packaging management, and rising consumer awareness coupled with an increasing ban on plastic. According to European bioplastics (Association of Bioplastics), global bioplastics production capacity increases from around 2.11 million tons in 2019 to approximately 2.43 million metric tons in 2024.
The Biodegradable Packaging Market was valued at USD 81.70 billion in 2022, and it is expected to reach USD 118.85 billion by 2031, registering a CAGR of 6.35% during the period, 2022-2031. The global environment-friendly food packaging market witnessed increased demand in 2022 and is anticipated to slow down in 2022. The increase in demand is majorly attributed to the increased demand for packaged food across the globe during the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, food manufacturing and related services continued to function during the lockdown as it was considered essential services. In addition to that, some companies have adopted various strategies to overcome this crisis.
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With the increasing packaging waste generated worldwide, governments across the globe are adapting to alternative sources such as biodegradable packaging. The United States is only 4% of the world’s population and generates 12% of global Municipality Solid Waste (MSW). It is also stated that the United States produces about 106.2 kg of plastic waste per person per year. (source: US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)).
According to US Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Act, the government aims to reduce plastic waste, encourage research into and technologies for recycling infrastructure, and ensure US leadership in national and international standards development. With the act conducting further research into microplastics, there is a possibility that US-based packaging companies may see stricter regulations concerning plastic manufacturing in the future.
Furthermore, bio-based materials have several potential benefits for greenhouse gas balances and other environmental impacts over the whole life cycles and in the use of renewable rather than finite resources. It is intended that the use of biodegradable materials will contribute to sustainability and reduction in the environmental impact associated with the disposal of oil-based polymers.
Key Market Trends
Beverage Packaging is Expected to be One of the Most Significant Applications
The market for biodegradable packaging in the beverage sector is anticipated to witness growth with the never-ending demand for bottled water and non-alcoholic beverages. The demand for bottled water is credited to consumers’ propensity for specifically demanding high-quality drinking water, the fear of diseases as an aftermath of drinking polluted tap water, and the ease of portability and convenience provided by bottled water.
Further, in several developed and developing economies, people favor bottled water, and also there has been a recent health trend to consume water instead of soft drinks. For instance, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) stated that Americans favor bottled water over other packaged beverages, after consuming 13.8 billion gallons of it in 2018. According to a new national survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), more than 9 in 10 Americans expect bottled water to be available wherever other drinks are sold.
According to the Environmental Audit Committee, an estimated 700,000 bottles are being littered every day in the United Kingdom alone. Such statistics indicate the severe need for biodegradable packaging solutions for beverages.
Companies in the beverages market, such as PepsiCo, have been using recyclable PET bottles for their beverages. PepsiCo’s recyclable PET bottles account for 30% of packaging volume in North America and 7% globally. However, high recycling and manufacturing costs are likely to restrain the practice of using recyclable PET for beverage packaging across developing economies, such as India. For instance, In July 2022, PepsiCo joined the consortium of global consumer goods companies, including Unilever, to further develop and scale the world’s first recyclable paper bottle, initially developed by Diageo and Pilot Lite.
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United States is Expected to Hold Major Market Share Globally
In the United States, the rising awareness among the consumers and favorable regulations from the government is anticipated to drive the demand for biodegradable packaging during the forecast period. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, United States generates almost 80 million metric tons of packaging waste each year. About half of the packaging waste in the US comes from food and beverage products. The agency mentioned that the food corporations like Nestle and Unilever generate the majority of plastic waste.
Recognizing this issue and under pressure from consumers, several of these corporations have recently pledged to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging. Many smaller companies in the food and beverage industry are doing the same, and some of them have been at the forefront of packaging innovative solutions for the years. The Food Tank highlights 16 food and beverage companies towards exhibiting the industry’s various approaches to sustainable packaging.
For instance, No Evil Foods’ vegetarian meat alternatives have produced compostable packaging made by Kraftpak and printed with plant-based ink. Kraftpak is a biodegradable, unbleached carton board sealing with water-soluble adhesives. The packaging unfolds like origami to mimic the unfolding of butcher paper. Previously, No Evil Foods used butcher paper with non-biodegradable sticker, making it challenging towards composting the butcher paper. Kraftpak is also certified for recycling.
The biodegradable packaging market is highly fragmented. The market studied comprises Amcor Limited, Sealed Air Corporation, Mondi Group PLC, and Tetra Pak International SA. Several regional firms in countries, such as India, are also trying to gain market share. Barriers to entry are low, resulting in the advent of smaller players, further increasing competitive rivalry.
June 2022 – Tetra Pak tied up with FINISH Society, a well-known solid waste management NGO, to increase collection of used carton packages in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. As part of the collaborative effort, FINISH Society will be working with the Municipal Corporation of Udaipur to recover used packs of juice/ milk from the corporation’s sorting centers, which will then be channelized to the nearest recycler. Tetra Pak and FINISH Society will also focus on raising awareness among the waste-picker community about their value from collecting used beverage cartons and selling them to a recycler.
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