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Freedonia Analysts Weigh In on Starbucks' Decision to Eliminate Plastic Straws
CLEVELAND, July 12, 2018 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Copyright (C) 2018 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

The decision by Starbucks to phase out plastic straws from over 28,000 stores for environmental reasons is expected to reduce global straw demand by over a billion units. While a billion straws sounds like a lot, in reality Starbucks accounts for a small share of the $600 million US straw market which has a very fragmented user base.

While the volume impact of Starbucks move may not be substantial in and of itself, it has the potential to lay the course for other large straw users to take similar action and this could have a significant downward impact on straw sales in the longer term. However, for the packaging industry it's not all bad news. Starbucks' plans to replace straws with specially designed new lids should help boost sales in the $1.1 billion market for cup lids in the US.

The relatively quick timetable for the phase out is possible due to the recent positive consumer support for reducing straw use. According to Freedonia Group foodservice packaging analyst Chad Henry, "Compared with the more negative reactions to moves away from foam containers and plastic bags, responses to limits on straws seem to range from enthusiastic support to simple shrugs."

One possible reason for this is because straws are primarily imported, prompting less of a pushback from large US manufacturers of foodservice packaging.

Consumers who have a preference for straws will receive them upon request, but they will be paper or compostable plastic. These alternative straws have received renewed interest and are poised for strong growth over the next five years.

The alternative lids are basically a clear version of the sippable low domes common on paper hot cups, and are indicative of trends in the packaging industry toward increased product functionality - offering dramatically improved performance with only marginal increases in cost. These lids, typically made from polypropylene, are more easily recycled than straws. "This makes them more acceptable to both eco-conscious consumers and the companies who hope to address the immense amounts of waste created by the disposal of single-use straws and lids," said Freedonia's Mike Richardson, who studies the global packaging market.

Among single-use foodservice products in general, the trend toward sustainability is increasing demand for biobased, recyclable, and items made from post-recycled content. "The consumer and business call for more sustainable foodservice packaging can't be referred to as a trend anymore- it is the new normal", says Henry.

More information about the growth opportunities in the foodservice disposables market can be found in Foodservice Single-Use Products in the US, by the Freedonia Group.

See the abstract here:

About The Freedonia Group, a division of - The Freedonia Group is a leading international industrial research company publishing more than 100 studies annually. Since 1985, we have provided research to customers ranging in size from global conglomerates to one-person consulting firms. More than 90% of the industrial companies in the Fortune 500 use Freedonia Group research to help with their strategic planning.

Press Contact: Corinne Gangloff+1

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SOURCE The Freedonia Group

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