GVR Report cover Europe Molded Pulp Packaging Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Europe Molded Pulp Packaging Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Source (Wood Pulp, Non-wood Pulp), By Packaging Type (Transfer, Thermoformed), By Application, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 - 2028

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68039-911-3
  • Number of Pages: 125
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)

Report Overview

The Europe molded pulp packaging market size was valued at USD 924.2 million in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% from 2020 to 2028. Rising demand for sustainable products for the packaging of eggs, fruits, and other fresh produce in Europe is expected to fuel the growth of the market. Eggs are packaged in molded pulp trays and clamshells, which are then sold to restaurants, foodservice operators, and individual consumers. Per capita, egg consumption has been increasing on a yearly basis in Europe on account of the health benefits and increasing demand for protein-rich food in Europe. The egg packaging is therefore expected to be one of the major factors augmenting the market growth.

U.K. molded pulp packaging market size, by source, 2018 - 2028 (USD Million)

Wood-based molded pulp packaging held the largest revenue share in the U.K. market in 2020 with the rising availability of recycled paper in the country used as a raw material. According to National Packaging Waste Database, the current recycling rate of paper is around 80.0% in the country. The government in the country is focusing on increasing the paper waste recycling rate to 100% across the U.K. in the near future, thereby supporting the market growth.

Molded pulp packaging is a potential alternative to plastic trays and clamshells and thus can contribute to reducing plastic waste generation. According to the EU, about 17.2 million metric tons of plastic packaging waste were generated in the EU between 2005 and 2020. Thus, the regulatory bodies and governments in Europe have imposed stringent restrictions on the generation of primarily plastic waste over the years.

The new Circular Economy Action Plan was released by European Union (EU) in March 2020, under which, it has set a target of ensuring that all the EU markets utilize reusable and recyclable packaging by 2030 in an economically viable manner. Several retail chains and foodservice operators in the region have set targets for phasing out plastic packaging products. Thus, the aforementioned factors are anticipated to drive the demand for sustainable molded pulp packaging over the forecast period.

Companies have been focusing on adopting low-cost energy-efficient production technologies to reduce production costs and improve profitability for molded pulp packaging. In June 2021, AR Packaging partnered with PulPacfor the PulPac PU300 production platform. PulPac PU300 is a patented manufacturing technology of PulPac that uses renewable pulp and cellulose resources to produce low-cost and high-performance molded pulp packaging products.

The COVID-19 outbreak in the year 2020 negatively impacted the foodservice industry. The restaurants, bars, and takeaways wavered between partial and total closure in Europe initially in 2020. Lockdown measures across Europe led to a fall in demand from the foodservice industry; however, food retail and home deliveries witnessed a spike during the initial phase of the pandemic in 2020.

Source Insights

Wood pulp accounted for the largest revenue share of over 75.0% in 2020. Europe accounted for about a quarter of world production for pulp and paper in 2020 with leading producing countries being Germany, Sweden, and Finland. The government is increasingly focusing on recycling paper programs, positively benefitting the availability of wood pulp for the production of molded pulp packaging products.

The pulp in Europe is produced through sustainable forest management programs, such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification). These programs aid the pulp and paper industry in the efficient utilization of raw materials as they rely on natural resources, driving the availability of wood pulp and thus propelling the segment growth.

Non-wood pulp is made using non-wooden cellulosic plant materials, including cereal straw, reeds, grasses, and sugarcane bagasse. The use of non-wood fibers is rising on account of sustainability and wood supply limitations. For instance, PAPACKS Sales GmbH uses fibers of hemp with a negative CO2 balance. It has good strength and durability for manufacturing molded pulp packaging products.

Packaging Type Insights

The transfer segment held the largest revenue share of over 50.0% in 2020. Transfer molded pulp packaging employs both forming and transfer molds in processing, resulting in a finished surface on both sides. Players are investing in transfer-type packaging as the products made from this method are used in a wide range of end-use applications. In August 2019, Packaging manufacturer Dinopol SP Z O.O headquartered in Poland announced the launch of new products and expansion into the local markets by investing in advanced production technology for transfer type molded pulp products with help from EU funding.

Thick-wall pulp packaging is the thickest packaging out of all four types. Thick wall molded pulp end caps are used in protective packaging during the transportation of various products, especially within the electronics industry. The lightweight property of the product has been supporting cargo transportation requirements. Therefore, increasing trade between countries in Europe is expected to boost the demand for thick wall molded pulp packaging.

Thermoformed type is also called thin-wall molded pulp packaging. These products offer a smoother finish and higher aesthetic appeal owing to which the segment has been generating considerable traction. Thermoformed packages are commonly used in the foodservice industry for making trays, plates, cups, and bowls. Thermoformed trays and containers can also be made microwave compatible, making it a preferred choice for fast food packaging that requires reheating. Processed type is used primarily in case of customs requirements such as printing. The method also includes additional steps of processing such as die-cutting, coating, or incorporation of chemicals.

Application Insights

The foodservice segment dominated the market with a revenue share of over 40.0% in 2020. Molded pulp clamshells, plates, bowls, and cups are widely used in the foodservice industry for packaging on-the-go snacks, ready-to-eat meals, and serving beverage cups. The rising trend of the consumption of single-serve meals and on-the-go products is expected to boost the demand for molded pulp packaging products in the foodservice industry.

For instance, in October 2021, sundae cup and cold cup lid made from molded fiber won the ‘Bio-Based’ category at the 2021 Sustainability Awards, hosted by Packaging Europe. The product was jointly developed by HAVI and Huhtamaki for McDonald's in Europe, which is one of the key fast-food players. The development of this molded fiber cup and lid was in line with McDonald’s goal of offering plastic-free packaging.

Molded pulp trays and clamshells are considered as the key packaging types for eggs due to their cushioning properties and low price offered by them. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables including apples, oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes are being increasingly packed in molded pulp products.

Europe molded pulp packaging market share, by application, 2020 (%)

Molded pulp products such as end caps and trays offer an alternative solution to expanded non-sustainable polystyrene (EPS) packaging used for electronic products. Electronic products such as computers, modems, hard drives, smartphones, and set-top boxes with LCD and LED panels are extremely fragile and require special care during transportation. Molded pulp products offer protection against vibration and shock and offer to cushion, which minimizes surface scratches and abrasions on appliances during transport and logistics operations.

Various medical devices such as glucose monitors, blood oxygenators, test kits, and surgical instruments are packaged in molded pulp products in the healthcare industry. Single-use dishes, urinals, bowls, and bedpans are often made using molded pulp. Molded pulp products can be easily discarded and are cost-effective in the healthcare system, thus fueling the growth of the segment.

The industrial packaging segment includes construction, transportation, and chemical packaging applications. The others segment includes personal care and cosmetics, household products, and automotive applications. The growing cosmetics industry in European countries, along with the accelerating demand for sustainable packaging, is likely to propel the growth of the market. For example, Pangea Organics uses clamshells made of molded pulp for packaging soap.

Regional Insights

In 2020, Western Europe emerged as the most prominent market and accounted for a revenue share of over 55.0%. Western Europe has a presence of developed countries such as the U.K., Germany, and France, having a greater urban population with high disposable income. These factors are expected to raise the demand for food products at supermarkets as well as food service establishments, benefiting the market growth in Western Europe.

In December 2019, Tesco Plc, a U.K.-based grocery, and general merchandise retailer imposed a ban on black plastic trays to serve ready-to-eat meals, fish, and meat in all its retail outlets, replacing it with wood pulp packaging, aluminum foil packaging, cardboard packaging, and others. Thus, an increasing number of retail chains moving toward sustainable packaging solutions is expected to benefit the growth of the market in the region.

The Eastern European market is likely to expand at the fastest rate over the forecast period with the rapidly expanding foodservice industry in Eastern European countries. For instance, According to the National Restaurant Association, the Polish foodservice profit sector grew at a strong CAGR of 4.0% from 2014 to 2019 with quick-service restaurants making the largest foodservice channel and accounting for 27.6% of the overall profit in 2019.

Similarly, the rising demand for molded pulp products for egg, meat, and fruit packaging in Eastern European countries is further expected to contribute to the market growth. According to Hungarian Egg Association, the per capita consumption of eggs in 2020 was 243, which has been growing steadily since 2013. An increase in demand for protein-rich food is further expected to increase the consumption of eggs, meat, and seafood in the country, bolstering sales of molded pulp packaging products over the forecast period.

The product demand in Scandinavian countries is primarily driven by rising investments by players operating in the region. Companies such as Brodrene Hartmann A/S, HuhtamakiOyj, and RottnerosAR Packaging have their headquarters in the region and are continuously involved in expansion, new product launches, and mergers & acquisitions to expand their presence in the region. For instance, in November 2020, Rottneros, based in Sweden, launched new mounded fiber food trays in the country, which can be used for chilled ready meals.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The European market for molded pulp packaging is highly competitive with the presence of both global and regional companies. The market has also witnessed several new product launches over the last few years benefiting the market growth. For instance, in December 2019, Huhtamaki introduced the Future Smart Duo fiber lid, which is a sustainable packaging product for hot and cold beverages and is manufactured using a mixture of wood fibers and bagasse.

Players are focusing on expanding their businesses through partnerships and capacity expansions to maintain a foothold in the European market. For instance, in June 2021, AR Packaging partnered with PulPac to fast-track its production for sustainable molded pulp products. Some prominent players in the Europe molded pulp packaging market include:

  • Brodrene Hartmann A/S

  • Omni-Pac Group

  • Huhtamaki

  • Pulp-Tec Limited

  • Eco-Products, Inc.

  • TART

  • PAPACKS Sales GmbH

  • Kiefel Packaging

  • Switch Packaging Specialists Ltd.

  • AR Packaging

  • Great Northern Corporation

  • James Cropper plc.

 Europe Molded Pulp Packaging Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2021

USD 974.7 million

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 1.43 billion

Growth Rate

CAGR of 5.6% from 2020 to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2019

Forecast period

2020 - 2028

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2020 to 2028

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Source, packaging type, application, region

Regional scope

Western Europe; Eastern Europe; Scandinavian

Country scope

U.K.; Germany; France; Italy; Spain; Netherlands; Belgium; Austria; Poland; Hungary; Sweden; Denmark; Finland

Key companies profiled

Brodrene Hartmann A/S; Omni-Pac Group; Huhtamaki; Pulp-Tec Limited; Eco-Products, Inc.; TART; PAPACKS Sales GmbH; Kiefel Packaging; Switch Packaging Specialists Ltd.; AR Packaging

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analysts working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

Pricing and purchase options

Avail customized purchase options to meet your exact research needs. Explore purchase options

Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at the regional and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends and opportunities in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the Europe molded pulp packaging market report on the basis of source, packaging type, application, and region:

  • Source Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Wood Pulp

    • Non-wood Pulp

  • Packaging Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Thick Wall

    • Transfer

    • Thermoformed

    • Processed

  • Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Food Packaging

    • Food Service

    • Electronics

    • Healthcare

    • Industrial

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Western Europe

      • U.K.

      • Germany

      • France

      • Italy

      • Spain

      • Netherlands

      • Belgium

      • Austria

    • Eastern Europe

      • Poland

      • Hungary

    • Scandinavian

      • Sweden

      • Denmark

      • Finland

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