The European cutlery market is growing. Almost half of Europe's imports come from developing countries, which makes Europe a market of interest to you. Market growth is driven by increased interest in home cooking and social dining, as well as casual dining, especially among young consumers. For disposable cutlery, the trend to use sustainable materials instead of plastic is very strong.
1. Product description
cutlery is used for preparing, serving and eating food. In home decoration and home textiles (HDHT), it belongs to the category of household items and its two subcategories: cutlery (cutlery) and cookware (kitchen utensils). The main cutlery in the European market are knives, forks and spoons, which can be sold in sets or individually.
The ergonomic design of the cutlery and the best performance of the kitchen knife are the main features in terms of function. For kitchen knives, sharpness is the main quality issue, except for grip. Kitchen knives come in many shapes and sizes. The shape of the knife makes it suitable for specific tasks (e.g. peeling, carving, deboning, splitting). Consumers can choose general knives or professional knives.
Traditionally, cutlery is made of silver and electroplated nickel silver (EPNS). However, today, most cutlery including high-quality designs are made of stainless steel. Another option is pure silver, which contains nickel and copper alloys. High-quality cutlery is not easy to change color or scratch-it will maintain its luster and will not corrode quickly.
Kitchen knives are mostly made of carbon steel or stainless steel, and more and more are made of ceramic (zirconia). Knives made of superhard ceramics have more and more shapes and sizes. They are thin and very sharp, and precise blades stay sharp longer than steel blades. Although the larger ceramic knives are versatile, they are still a supplement to steel blades rather than a substitute. They cannot handle foods such as hard pumpkins and raw potatoes well.
Cutlery for informal meals, picnics and party dinners can be made of synthetic materials (such as melamine), paper or wood (bamboo). These items are easy to use, clean and/or dispose of. Biodegradable materials are becoming more and more popular for disposable cutlery, whether it is bamboo or starch-based materials.
"Please note that food contact materials made of plastic with natural fibers, such as bamboo ("bamboo melamine") or corn starch, are not biodegradable and may even become unsafe due to high formaldehyde content. These types of additives are not The approval is subject to EU sanctions, and such products are being withdrawn from the European market."
Cutlery in the European market must be dishwasher safe. Stainless steel is the most commonly used material because it can meet the toughness and tensile strength requirements of cutlery. cutlery made of high-quality metal tends to be low-maintenance and durable.
Material and durability are closely related:
u Stainless steel: Contains a high percentage of chromium to provide durability and corrosion protection, and a lower percentage of nickel to provide gloss and high temperature resistance
u Silver plating: Composed of a mixture of copper, zinc and nickel, with a silver coating to make it corrosion resistant, but sensitive to sulfides in the atmosphere and certain foods (such as eggs)
u Pure silver: contains a high percentage (sometimes close to 93%) of pure silver, which also makes it corrosion-resistant but sensitive to sulfides
u Silver: It is a soft metal, easy to scratch, but with proper care it will produce a beautiful luster
In addition to providing excellent grip and functionality, cutlery must also look good. For cutlery, the shape of the set makes it look more modern or traditional. In cutlery and kitchen knives, the design aspect is usually related to the shape and material of the handle. Especially in the mid-end market, the coloring of handles (sometimes entire items) can increase the design value of cutlery and kitchen knives. Gift packaging can also add design value to all types of cutlery.
2. What makes Europe an interesting cutlery market?
In recent years, the European cutlery market has grown. Almost half of the value of imports comes from developing countries.
Between 2015 and 2019, European cutlery imports increased from 1.4 billion Euros to 1.5 billion Euros, with an average annual growth rate of 2.3%. After the decline in 2017, imports from developing countries reached 693 million euros in 2019, which is equivalent to the value in 2015. This value accounts for 46% of the import market share of European imports. These figures show that as an exporter from developing countries, Europe is an interesting market for you.
Market growth in Europe is driven by increased interest in home cooking and social dining, as well as casual dining.
3. Which European countries provide the most opportunities for cutlery?
The larger Western European economies are the main importers of cutlery. Germany is Europe's leading importer of cutlery, accounting for 23% of the market, followed by the Netherlands (12%) and France (11%). Together, they account for about half of the total European cutlery imports. The smaller markets with a share of less than 10% but still in the top six major importing countries are the United Kingdom (9%), Spain (6%) and Poland (6%).
However, please note that different countries play different roles in the European market. You can roughly distinguish between countries that are mainly importing countries and countries that are mainly manufacturers. Most Western European importing countries not only import products for sale in their own countries, but also export to other European countries. This explains why countries with smaller markets, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, often import volumes far exceeding their domestic market demand.
4. Millennials: Casual Dining
At the same time, there are some trends that offset the trend of improving the quality of food and beverages. Millennials will soon become the main consumer group and the most professional HDHT buyers. They are usually associated with increasing urbanization, the need for instant gratification, the desire not to miss anything, multitasking, and 24/7 online. They like practical and affordable cutlery that can be bought in nearby supermarkets and convenience stores.
This casual dining trend has also driven the demand for disposable and mixed cutlery, combining the functions of different cutlery. For example, spork (spoon/fork), spoon (spoon/knife), knife (knife/fork) and sporf, which combine these three.
However, today's consumers are flexible: they can become "casual diners" on weekday evenings, but become "social diners" on weekends. This has created a demand for cutlery for special occasions and cutlery for daily use.