US bioplastics firm monitoring European market before expanding ops

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union Starch

Cereplast said a new deal with Bunge will see it expand production of its bioplastic food packaging in Brazil but that any European growth plans were under review for up to two years while it assesses regional demand.

The US-based company told that it expected its European bioplastics development strategy to crystallise by mid-2012. Cereplast outlined its plans for Europe as it announced a boost to its operations in South America. The company said it had signed a deal with Bunge Alimentaris, a Brazilian subsidiary of Bunge Ltd, that will see the food giant expand its use of Cereplast’s eco-friendly resins in food packaging.

Cereplast said it had launched its products in the European arena this year. It added that its direct presence in France and Germany and a distribution deal with A Schulman to sell its range of resins was “only the start”.​ Under the agreement, Schulman distributes Cereplast Compostables and Hybrids Resins to converters and manufacturers throughout Europe.

The bioplastics producers said all its resins replace a “significant percentage”​ of petroleum-based additives with starches made out of corn, wheat, tapioca and potatoes, “allowing bioplastics to return back to nature within 180 days”.

European potential

But the company said that while its desire was to expand operations in the bloc it would keep a watching brief on market developments.

“At this stage we are monitoring the market and do believe that if we are successful we will have either a direct manufacturing in EU or an agreement with a large manufacture of resins,”​ said Frederic Scheer, company founder, chairman and CEO. “This is probably an 18 months to 24 months horizon.”

The company is targeting Europe as it believes there is huge growth potential for bioplastics – which currently account for less than one per cent of the European plastics market.

Citing a 2007 report from analysts Frost and Sullivan, the company said that Europe had “experienced an exponential growth and demand for bioplastics that has outstripped supply​”. Cereplast added that as demand remained higher than supply, there was “sufficient room for new participants as well as existing companies to grow”.

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