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

Molded Pulp Packaging Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Source (Wood Pulp, Non-wood Pulp), By Molded Type (Thermoformed, Transfer), By Product, By Application, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022 - 2030

  • Report ID:  GVR-3-68038-856-5
  • Number of Pages: 144
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)

Report Overview

The global molded pulp packaging market size was estimated at USD 4.80 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4% from 2022 to 2030. The factors attributed to driving the market are the rising demand for biodegradable, clear packaging solutions, and growing product demand in end-user industries. However, poor barrier properties from oxygen, water, and microbes are restraining the market growth to some extent.

 U.S. molded pulp packaging market size, by application, 2020 - 2030 (USD Million)

The molded pulp packaging material is built up of a microporous structure which allows aeration and water absorption properties. This leads to a long-lasting freshness of perishable food products. In addition, these packaging materials are high-strength, lightweight, shockproof, and easy to transport, thus becoming a material of choice for packaging in the food and beverages industry.

The growth of online shopping was significant when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe. According to a report from the Annual Retail Trade Survey (ARTS), e-commerce sales increased by 43% in 2020, reaching USD 815.4 billion from USD 571.2 billion in 2019. Wherein food and beverage witnessed a growth of 9.7% in e-commerce sales. This escalated the demand for molded pulp packaging for perishable grocery products.

Based on the application, the food packaging segment commanded the largest share of 49.8% in the year 2021. The factors attributed to driving the segment are high consumption of processed food products and purchasing power parity. In the U.S. economy, the food and beverages industry plays a vital role, contributing USD 1.055 trillion to the overall U.S. GDP. Additionally, food items accounted for 11.9% of the U.S. household expenditure in 2020. Thus, making the presence of the food and beverages industry strong, as the demand for food is high.

This scenario is creating demand for safe packaging materials in the food industry. Henceforth, molded pulp trays, bowls, and cups are widely getting adapted as packaging materials in the food and beverages industry. However, the U.S. consumer electronics segment is expected to advance at the fastest CAGR of 7.7% during the forecast period. The U.S consumer electronic retail sale value is expected to reach USD 461 billion in 2021, as per data by Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

This huge demand for consumer electronics when compared with other industries will create a demand for safe packaging solutions. Furthermore, end caps find huge application scope in the packaging of non-electronic products such as personal care items, cosmetics, and medicines, which is expected to further drive the market in the U.S. during the forecast period.

Source Insights

Based on the source, the wood pulp segment accounted for 86.2% of the revenue share in the year 2021 owing to abundant availability and decreasing cost of wood pulp. In most of the region, the price of pulp is declining. For instance, pulp prices went down from USD 770 per ton in 2018 to USD 580 per ton in 2021 in China, thereby boosting the molded wood pulp packaging market growth in the past few years.

However, the non-wood pulp segment is expected to witness rapid growth during the forecast period. The growth of the segment is attributed to rising concerns globally about deforestation. Non-wood pulp is manufactured with agricultural waste or non-woody cellulosic plant materials such as grass, cereal straws, sugar cane bagasse, and reeds. This has been gaining popularity in the manufacturing of pulp due to its high accessibility, low cost, and rising deforestation concerns. Cereal straw was the largest used raw material in the non-wood pulp market, as of 2021.

Several non-conventional raw materials are being explored at the experimentation stage, including natural latex and coconut husk. Companies are utilizing bamboo as a virgin material for pulp manufacturing, as the plant is fast-growing and is available in ample amounts all over the globe.

Furthermore, higher paper recycling rates in developed economies in North America and the European region have been favoring the market with raw material availability. The paper recyclability rate in the U.S has increased from 63% in 2009 to more than 70% as of 2020. Whereas, around 74% of the paper in the European region was recycled by the end of the year 2020, which is also ensuring the continuous supply of raw materials without harming the environment.

Product Insights

Based on product, the trays segment dominated the global molded pulp packaging market with a 41.6% revenue share in 2021. Trays are mainly used in the food and food service industries. This is due to the high convenience, shock absorption, and stability advantage provided by them. In the food industry, molded pulp trays are largely used for primary egg packaging in retail distribution channels.

Molded pulp trays are projected to augment due to several shortcomings of plastic trays. Foam and plastic trays are not ideal in foodservice packaging, as these tend to distort with hot food and beverages, and also pose the additional possibility of contamination of the products at elevated temperatures. Moreover, molded pulp trays are double oven-able; the trays can be used in both microwave as well as conventional ovens, making them a popular choice.

End caps are a key product in the protective packaging market as they are cost-effective and biodegradable. Although several substitutes, such as foam end caps, are available in the market, rising concerns regarding the non-degradable properties of foam materials are positively impacting the growth of the market for end caps.

Molded pulp clamshells are witnessing a rapidly escalating demand due to the soaring demand for retail egg packaging. Although plastic offers high moisture barrier properties in contrast to molded pulp packaging, the declining use of single-use plastics due to stringent regulations is augmenting the demand for molded pulp clamshells.

Application Insights

Food packaging emerged as the dominating application segment for molded pulp packaging with 49.8% revenue share in 2021; the molded pulp is primarily used for the packaging of fruits, vegetables, and eggs. Fruits and vegetables, including apples, oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes, are also packed in molded pulp products for exports and imports. It helps regulate fruit respiration and maintains ethylene density, to delay the process of ripening. Thus, contributing to the higher shelf life of fruits and vegetables.

Molded packaging products such as bowls, plates, clamshells, and cups are widely used in the foodservice industry for packaging on-the-go snacks, ready-to-eat meals, and beverages. The growing demand for on-the-go products, and single-serve meals owing to busy lifestyles in urban areas, is expected to boost the demand for molded pulp packaging products in the food service industry during the assessment period.

The electronics application segment is expected to witness the highest revenue growth of 8.8% during the forecast years, owing to high demand in the packaging of sensitive electronic devices such as computers, modems, printers, hard drives, cellphones, and others. The electronic industry is characterized by frequent product launches owing to technological advancements, which are anticipated to drive the demand for molded pulp packaging products.

Molded pulp packaging products such as trays and end caps are used for packaging a wide range of industrial products such as faucets, plumbing fixtures, door hinges, and mechanical components. It is also widely used for packaging various industrial products as they offer several benefits including protection from delicate surfaces, reduction in shipping costs & weight, and sustainability.

Molded Type Insights

Based on molded type, the transfer molded segment dominated the market with a 57.3% market share in 2021. Transfer molded pulp packaging is proliferating in food packaging applications due to the hygroscopic property of the material and air permeability, resulting in the extended shelf life of food and beverage products that are to be transported. In addition, molded pulp packaging provides protection from shocks, which limits breakage or damage to the products, especially eggs, fruits & vegetables, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

 Global molded pulp packaging market share, by molded type, 2021 (%)

The thick wall molded type segment is expected to expand at a revenue-based CAGR of 6.8% during the forecast period. This packaging holds a smooth surface on one side and an unfinished surface on the other side and is commonly used as end caps or trays for packaging industrial products. Typically, recycled kraft paper pulp is utilized to produce thick wall pulp packaging, owing to its low cost.

Thermoformed molded pulp packaging is also called thin-wall molded pulp packaging. The manufacturing process involves heated molds that press the pulp for a smoother finish and better dimensions. This type of packaging is commonly used in the foodservice industry for trays, plates, cups, and bowls. The rigidity and smooth finish along with recyclability and sustainability offered by the packaging make it a better option over plastic packaging.

The processed molded pulp is largely used for clamshell products. Clamshell finds use in various industries including food, food service, industrial, and electronics. The demand for this type of molded pulp packaging is high in the food and foodservice industries compared to other industries, as they are the best-suited alternative to plastic clamshells and blister packs.

Regional Insights

China accounted for a 53.5% revenue share in the Asia Pacific region, as it is the largest regional food & beverage market, owing to the high population and increasing disposable income. According to a report by the China Chain Store & Franchise Association, China's food and beverage industry is increasing significantly, reaching $595 billion in 2019, an increase of 7.8% over 2018. The rise in the country’s food and beverage industry is creating huge pollution concerns emerging from single-use plastic packaging materials. This is creating demand for sustainable packaging solutions such as molded pulp packages.

North America was the second-largest market for molded pulp packaging in the year 2021, as it is home to several food service companies including restaurants, fast-food outlets, and catering services. The higher prevalence of out-of-home dining due to hectic lifestyles and higher per capita disposable income is expected to bolster the demand for product packaging solutions.

Molded Pulp Packaging Market Trends by Region

EU is home to one million restaurants and mobile food services, and the number is expected to increase during the forecast period. With an increasing number of restaurants and other food outlets, the demand for sustainable packaging solutions is also expected to grow. The member countries of the EU maintain stringent regulatory norms to keep a check on environmental impacts caused by the disposal of wastes, mainly plastics, thus creating a nourishing environment for the market for molded pulp packaging.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The molded pulp packaging industry is highly competitive with the presence of both global and regional companies. Companies operating in the market offer a wide range of products that are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Moreover, they offer custom packaging products to suit customer-specific requirements.

The market has also witnessed several new product launches over the last few years. For instance, in February 2019, Genpak LLC extended its Harvest Fiber product line by introducing 4 new products, which included two trays, namely HF3TT & HF2X2T, and two clamshells, namely HF2X2 & HF4CC. Some of the prominent manufacturers in the global molded pulp packaging market include:

  • Brodrene Hartmann A/S

  • Huhtamaki Oyj

  • UFP Technologies, Inc

  • Thermoform Engineered Quality LLC

  • Genpak, LLC

  • Eco-Products, Inc.

  • Pro-Pac Packaging Limited

  • Fabri-Kal

  • Henry Molded Products, Inc.

  • Sabert Corporation

Molded Pulp Packaging Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2022

USD 5.11 billion

Revenue forecast in 2030

USD 9.11 billion

Growth rate

CAGR of 7.4% from 2022 to 2030

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2020

Forecast period

2022 - 2030

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2021 to 2030

Report coverage

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

Segments covered

Source, molded type, product, application, region

Regional Scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Central & South America; Middle East & Africa

Country Scope

U.S.; Canada; Mexico; Germany; U.K.; France; Italy; China; India; Japan; Brazil; Saudi Arabia

Key companies profiled

Brodrene Hartmann A/S; Huhtamaki Oyj; UFP Technologies, Inc; Thermoform Engineered Quality LLC; Genpak, LLC; Eco-Products, Inc; Pro-Pac Packaging Limited; Fabri-Kal; Henry Molded Products, Inc; Sabert Corporation

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


Global Molded Pulp Packaging Market Segmentation

This report forecasts revenue growth at the global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends and opportunities in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2030. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global molded pulp packaging market report on the basis of source, molded type, product, application, and region:

Global Molded Pulp Packaging Market Segmentation

  • Source Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • Wood Pulp

    • Non-wood Pulp

  • Molded Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • Thick Wall

    • Transfer

    • Thermoformed

    • Processed

  • Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • Trays

    • End Caps

    • Bowls & Cups

    • Clamshells

    • Plates

    • Others

  • Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • Food Packaging

    • Food Service

    • Electronics

    • Healthcare

    • Industrial

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

      • Mexico

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • France

      • U.K.

      • Italy

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

    • Central & South America

      • Brazil

    • Middle East & Africa

      • Saudi Arabia

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