Plastic Utensils: There's More Than You Know

By: Sabrina Huda Sanchez


You’re stocking your business or event with disposable utensils to make life easier instead of stocking and washing metal forks, spoons, and knives. You just need to search “plastic utensils” and order the first ones you see. Simple, right? Actually, depending on your menu you may be ordering utensils that make it hard for patrons to eat with. If you go low-cost then you may end up with light or medium weight utensils that cannot support your heavy mashed potatoes. If you go with a tea spoon instead of a soup spoon then it becomes frustrating and slow to consume your freshly made soup.
There’s more than you know about the world of plastic utensils. Here we will break down all that you need to consider when making your next purchase.


Utensil Weight indicates how thick the plastic utensil is. Available weights include:

• Medium For softer lighter food, such as yogurt, rice, or butter, the medium-weight spoons, forks and knives work great.
• Medium-heavy Both medium-heavy and heavy are great for foods in between soft and tough like chicken and potatoes.
• Heavy
• Extra-heavy For foods on the other end of the spectrum such as steak or hot bisques, the extra heavy-weight cutlery may be better suited.

Be sure to consider your menu when deciding which weight to select. It’s best to buy based on the heavier food items since you can always use extra-heavy for yogurt but you cannot use medium for steak.

Utensil Material plays a greater role in the overall experience and cost of eating with disposable utensils. The material can affect appearance (shiny or matte), feel (soft or hard) and durability (break-resistant or not). You may also decide to go with a material that is made from renewable resources and is biodegradable. Here are the different material options:

Material Appearance Texture Durability
PP (PolyPro) Plastic Matte Soft and flexible Break-resistant
PS (Polystyrene) Plastic Shiny Hard, not flexible Strong, but breakable depending on weight
PLA (Polylactic acid) Bio-Based Plastic Matte Soft, not flexible Medium but breakable
Wooden Buffered, matte Smooth, not flexible Medium but breakable

Materials that are breakable do not mean brittle. It simply means, if given some force the utensil may snap. It’s important to note that while eco-friendly options are great if you want to reduce your impact on the environment, they may be difficult to cut your pork chop.
When comparing durability PP versus PS, they both can get the job done if you select the right weight. The appearance and texture is just preference based on the image you want to present to your customers or guests.


Disposable spoons come in such variety depending on your need, from tiny sample spoons to long soda spoons! Here are the different types of spoons you can find:

• Tasting Spoon At only 3” long, these spoons are often used when sampling foods. Popularly found in ice cream shops.
• Gelato Spoon This kind of spoon has a flat nose and is only 3.5” long. It is commonly used for eating gelato. The shovel-like shape makes it easier to scrape the bottom of the cup for every last drop!
• Tea Spoon The most widely used plastic spoon is the tea spoon. This has an egg shape scoop with medium depth. It’s great for just about anything you may need a spoon for.
• Soup Spoon Soup spoons are more round and deep to best contain soup liquid.
• Soda Spoon These spoons are very long at 8”. The long neck of the spoon makes it easy to scoop ice cream at the bottom of an ice cream float which is traditionally served in tall glasses.
• Spork Half spoon, half fork! The spork allows you to switch between poking or scooping your food. It can be more cost-efficient to only supply sporks instead of both spoons and forks.



Utensil colors don’t vary much for plastic forks and plastic knives which are mostly found in black or white. However, plastic spoons can come in a wide assortment of colors! Karat offers a rainbow assortment of gelato spoons, tea spoons, and soda spoons. There are even color-changing tea spoons that alter colors based on hot or cold foods.


Wrapped Utensils are more important than ever now. Many guests are conscious of sanitation, especially when it comes to food. You can find individually wrapped utensils or complete wrapped cutlery kits. Selecting individually wrapped utensils may offer peace of mind to guests or customers that their disposable utensils are safe and sanitary. There are also many options of kits for each kind of menu so consider what utensils your customers will possibly need.


Now you should be able to expertly select the right utensils for your business or event. Find high-quality KaratⓇ utensils here on