Europe Biodegradable Cups Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

The Europe Biodegradable Market is Segmented By Material Type (Bio-Plastics (PLA, PBS & others), Paper​), Application (Beverage (Cold & Hot Beverages| Ice-Cream)​, Food (Confectioneries, Spreads & Dressings)), End User (Food Service Outlets (Cafe & Hotels), Institutional (Malls & other commercial establishments)), and Country (United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Rest of Europe)

Market Snapshot

Study Period: 2018-2026
Base Year: 2020
CAGR: 6.35 %

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Market Overview

The Europe Biodegradable Cups market (henceforth, referred to as the market studied) is expected to register a CAGR of 6.35% during the period, 2021-2026 (henceforth, referred to as the forecast period).​

With an outbreak of COVID-19, many companies have begun shifting away from the sustainability goal of banning plastic. Some studies suggested that the virus can be passed on through cardboard and plastic, which has resulted in increased usage of single-use materials across the supermarkets to wrap products.

  • To truly capture the potential for biodegradable cup packaging, the region needs to have an adequate composting and collection infrastructure to support the use. Currently, very few municipalities across the world have such infrastructure. However, with the increasing awareness, investment, and ban on single-use plastic, this is likely to ascend, creating an ample amount of opportunities for the existing and new market players. Partnering for such activities can create strategic opportunities for vendors operating in the market space.
  • Currently, Europe leads the market, owing to substantially higher landfill disposal costs (calculated by adding together landfill taxes plus landfill gate fees), coupled with awareness and plastic bans. Owing to the exceptional characteristics and benefits of biodegradable plastic packaging, the scope for new entrants is rapidly increasing in the European region.
  • According to the European bioplastics, the biodegradable plastics altogether, including PLA, PHA, starch blends, and others, account for over 55.5% (over one million tonnes) of global bioplastics production capacities. The production of biodegradable plastics is anticipated to increase to 1.33 million in the year 2024, especially due to PHA’s significant growth rates.
  • The region is also witnessing entry of new players that are introducing highly biodegradable cups in the market. For instance, in January 2020, Lavazza Professional introduced a new recyclable and biodegradable product known as KLIX Eco Cup that is manufactured using paper sourced from sustainably managed forests. The product is created in partnership with manufacturer Kotkamills, was made available in KLIX vending machines from February 2020, serving a wide range of hot drinks brands, with more to come throughout the year.The new KLIX Eco Cup is unique due to a special patented water-based dispersion barrier board that enables the cups to be recycled with normal paper waste, just like office paper. Such innovations combined with increasing partnerships is expected to spur the market growth during the forecast period.

Scope of the Report

Biodegradable refers to the ability of materials to break down and return to nature. In order for packaging products or materials to qualify as biodegradable, they must completely break down and decompose into natural elements within a short time after disposal, typically in a year or less.​ The market studied by material type is segmented as Bio-plastics and paper. The plastics segment is further segmented as starch-based, cellulose-based, PLA, PBS, and other biodegradable plastics.​ The applications covered under the market study include applications in the food, beverage industries. The report also covers the COVID-19 impact on the market studied.​

By Material Type
Bio-Plastics (PLA, PBS & others)
By Application
Beverage (Cold & Hot Beverages| Ice-Cream)
Food (Confectionaries, Spreads & Dressings)
By End User
Food Service Outlets (Cafe & Hotels)
Institutional (Malls & other commercial establishments)
Others (Households, etc.)
By Country
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe (Spain, Nordics, Benelux, etc.)

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Key Market Trends

Food is Expected to Gain Significant Share

  • By application, food, beverage end users are expected to adapt to biodegradable packaging the most. For instance, in May 2021, researchers in Denmark have created a way to replace plastic used in delivering food with grass fibers, which they say is '100 % biodegradable.'
  • The novel coronavirus has aided consumers to realize the importance of always being prepared and putting health first and increased the demand for packaged food across the region. Similarly, many brands had also tweaked the packaging of the products in order to appeal to the consumers. Therefore, the packaging is now being seen as a vital bridge between consumers and brands to effectively communicate that hygiene practices are maintained, consumer safety is prioritized.​ ​
  • However, most of the government has pushed the banning on single-use plastic in their countries, which has gained some time for the plastic cycle and hindered the adoption of biodegradable packaging by various companies. For instance, in the United Kingdom, The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs postponed the ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds to October 2020.
  • Also, the food sector is also reconsidering its approach to using recyclable or eco-friendly materials that might augment transmission threats. For instance, even before the enforcement of lockdown, some players involved in the coffee business had resumed using disposable cups. Even though this might be a momentary trend, it does not mean that the environment-friendly packaging options will not be reconsidered in the future.
  • Owing to the growing needs, the region is also witnessing growth of startups. In April 2021, Picup launched its plantable paper cups in Poland. The Poznan-based startup’s 100% biodegradable cups of tea or coffee contain seeds at the bottom of the filter, allowing a tree to grow after the drink is consumed.​
  • For businesses that provide on-the-go services, such as coffee chains where customers may not always bring their own reusable cups, Picup provides an instant, convenient, practical alternative that leaves behind a lighter footprint on the planet and can work with brands to customise cups with their brand logos. ​
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United Kingdom is Expected to Grow Significantly

  • With the rise of takeaway and street food outlets, grabbing food on the go is the new norm in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has recently introduced regulations that require increased recycled content for packaging. ​
  • Companies, like GM Packaging Ltd, in the United Kingdom have launched products that are manufactured using sugarcane (Bagasse) and bamboo fiber, which allows them to meet the consumer’s needs through reliable and stable products with compostable utensils, such as knives, forks, spoons, and cups. This makes these products affordable, safe, and eco-friendly.​
  • The growth is also attributed to consumer awareness. Earlier most consumers were unaware that standard paper cups are difficult to recycle and are usually sent to landfills due to a Polyethylene (PE) lining that very few recycling facilities across Europe can process including the United Kingdom.
  • Owing to the increasing demand, new as well as established players in the market are launching new products to gain market share in the region. For instance, in December 2020, Britain's fully plastic-free and recyclable lid-free takeaway cup was launched in the United Kingdom. The newly launched ButterflyCup which needs no separate lid was showcased at WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust) centres across the United Kingdom. The cup can be recycled in the regular paper bin along with cardboard and ordinary paper, biodegrades naturally and can be composted.
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Competitive Landscape

The European biodegradable cups market is moderate, with market incumbents, such as Genpak LLC​, Pactiv LLC​, BVO International GmbH, Huhtamaki Group​, among others, operating in the market. Sustainable competitive advantage can be gained through innovation in design, technology, and application. The market incumbents have been identified to adopt moderate competitive strategies, by partnerships activities, emphasis on R&D, and innovative activities. However, there are many new players that are expanding in the region and might make the market fragmented through the forecast period.

  • March 2021 - Luxembourg-based company Capsul’in Pro launched its Zero Impact Nespresso-compatible coffee capsule, that is 100% biobased, certified home compostable and with a high oxygen barrier that protects the flavour and aroma of the coffee. The Zero Impact capsule is completely plant-based and does not contain materials derived from fossil fuels. After use, the capsule can be put in a home compost bin or collected with organic waste.
  • November 2020 - East Yorkshire printing and marketing business Just Peel announced that it is planning to launch a range of disposable pint and half pint standardised paper cups for the drinks industry supported by funding from HSBC UK. The company used a six-figure funding package from the bank to purchase specialist machinery to produce fully brandable, PE and PLA plastic free, CE-marked pint and half-pint paper cups.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

      1. 4.2.1 Growing demand for Sustainable Products specifically in the beverage industry

      2. 4.2.2 Stringent government regulations has led to higher emphasis on material-based innovations

    3. 4.3 Market Challenge

    4. 4.4 Industry Ecosystem Analysis

    5. 4.5 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis

    6. 4.6 Impact of COVID-19 on the Biodegradable Cups Industry (Key themes covered include adverse impact on the foodservice industry which is one of the foremost contributors to market growth| Higher focus on Single-use products owing to lower risk of transmission| Supply-chain challenges)


    1. 5.1 By Material Type

      1. 5.1.1 Bio-Plastics (PLA, PBS & others)

      2. 5.1.2 Paper

    2. 5.2 By Application

      1. 5.2.1 Beverage (Cold & Hot Beverages| Ice-Cream)

      2. 5.2.2 Food (Confectionaries, Spreads & Dressings)

    3. 5.3 By End User

      1. 5.3.1 Food Service Outlets (Cafe & Hotels)

      2. 5.3.2 Institutional (Malls & other commercial establishments)

      3. 5.3.3 Others (Households, etc.)

    4. 5.4 By Country

      1. 5.4.1 United Kingdom

      2. 5.4.2 Germany

      3. 5.4.3 Italy

      4. 5.4.4 France

      5. 5.4.5 Rest of Europe (Spain, Nordics, Benelux, etc.)


    1. 6.1 Company Profiles

      1. 6.1.1 Genpak LLC

      2. 6.1.2 Pactiv LLC

      3. 6.1.3 BVO International GmbH

      4. 6.1.4 Huhtamaki Group

      5. 6.1.5 Go-Pak Limited

      6. 6.1.6 Scyphus Limited

      7. 6.1.7 Bio Futura Group

      8. 6.1.8 Vegware

      9. 6.1.9 The Cup Folk

    2. *List Not Exhaustive

**Subject to Availability

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Europe Biodegradable Cups Market market is studied from 2018 - 2026.

The Europe Biodegradable Cups Market is growing at a CAGR of 6.35% over the next 5 years.

Genpak LLC​, Pactiv LLC​, BVO International GmbH, Huhtamaki Group​, Go-Pak Limited​ are the major companies operating in Europe Biodegradable Cups Market.

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