Editor’s Note: This story originally published on August 7, 2018.
Demand for paper straws is “off the charts.”
That’s according to David Rhodes, the global business director for Aardvark, the only paper straw maker in the US. He should know.
Aardvark was acquired yesterday by Hoffmaster Group, a maker of premium disposable tableware. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The straw maker, which grew sales by 5000% last year, had been struggling to keep up with demand since the tide turned against plastic drinking straws. Hoffmaster will bring welcome resources.
“In the coming months, we will aggressively ramp up Aardvark’s manufacturing capacity to meet the rapidly accelerating demand for paper straws,” the company said in a statement.
Demand has increased because of an environmental movement to eliminate single use plastics. It’s estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.
Major companies including Starbucks, Disney and McDonald’s are in the process of limiting or ditching plastic straws, while US cities like Seattle and whole countries are moving to ban them.
But the influx of demand was too much for Aardvark to handle and orders were delayed as much as 12 weeks because of the backlog.
“There’s not just paper straw making machines laying around,” he said.
The acquisition will help the company build more machines, ramp up resources and grow its bottom line.
But it’s not just Aardvark benefiting from the boom.
Strawsome, a Detroit-based glass straw maker, told CNN its business has done as much sales in the first quarter of 2018 as the entire year of 2015.
Founder Daedra Surowiec said she didn’t think her business would become as popular as it recently has.
“One can dream and you work hard to make a start up successful but you just never know what change the world is going to see that’s going to align with your product,” she said.