Lactic Acid Market Report

Lactic Acid Market Analysis By Application (Industrial, F&B, Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care) & Polylactic Acid (PLA) Market Analysis By Application (Packaging, Agriculture, Transport, Electronics, Textiles), And Segment Forecasts, 2018 - 2025

  • Published Date: May, 2017
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2016
  • Report ID: 978-1-68038-126-9
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2014 - 2016
  • Number of Pages: 160

Industry Insights

The global lactic acid & polylactic acid market size was valued at USD 2.08 billion and 1.29 billion respectively in 2016. The market is expected to show significant growth over the forecast period owing rising usage in packaging, personal care, and textiles. Rising lactic acid demand as a feedstock for PLA production is expected to drive demand over the next eight years.

Increasing usage in creams, shampoos, and body care products as it enhances skin lightening effects, improves collagen and elastin synthesis, accelerates exfoliation and cell renewal is expected to propel industry expansion over the forecast period. Rising demand for personal care products, owing to the introduction of sophisticated products along with the formulation development for a particular consumer group is expected to create new growth avenues for the lactic acid market.

U.S. lactic acid market volume by application, 2014 - 2025 (Kilo Tons)

U.S. lactic acid market

Growing pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. as a result of increasing spending on medicines is expected to have a positive impact on industry growth. The robust manufacturing base of global cosmetic players including Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble in the U.S. is expected to promote demand for personal care products, which in turn is projected to fuel lactic acid growth.

Emerging bioplastic applications coupled with favorable regulations towards the use of bio-based materials is projected to augment polylactic acid demand over the next eight years. Increasing demand for PLA in packaging as it provides an environmentally friendly solution and helps in enhancing the appearance of the final product is projected to augment industry growth. Furthermore, its advantages over other plastics including high resistance to moisture and grease, odor and flavor barrier characteristics, and clarity are expected to stimulate industry expansion.

Growing consumer awareness regarding the need for sustainability, recyclability, and green packaging is projected to drive global PLA demand over the forecast period. Textile is another important sector having high penetration and high growth rate as polylactic acid offers smooth and pleasant fabrics. In addition, PLA provides excellent moisture, UV resistance, low flammability and low smoke formation is likely to increase its growth in the textile sector over the forecast period.

However, high PLA price over conventional polymers including Polypropylene (PP) and Polystyrene (PS) is expected to hinder industry growth. Moreover, volatility in raw material prices including corn, sugar and tapioca starch is likely to restrain market expansion. Increasing focus on enhanced technological development with the gypsum-free lactic acid process is expected to open new market avenues over the next eight years.

Lactic Acid Application Insights

The industrial segment was valued at USD 950.5 million in 2016 and is expected to witness significant growth as a result of increasing usage of the product in the chemical and marine sector. Growing consumption as a descaling agent in marine industry is likely to promote market growth over the forecast period.

Lactic acid acts as a descaling agent which has resulted in its increasing use from the marine industry wherein it is used in the bottom of large ships. Its ability to remove polymer resins is expected to influence its demand over the forecast period. Growing marine sector in Australia, UK, UAE, and China is likely to propel growth.

Personal care segment is projected to witness significant volume growth at a CAGR of 16.3% from 2017 to 2025 as a result of growing demand for perfumes mainly in the Middle East, Latin America, and West Africa. Furthermore, the introduction of handy and easy-to-use products while traveling is expected to stimulate the market size over the next eight years.

Polylactic Acid Application Insights

Packaging segment accounted for the maximum volume share of 59.1% in 2016 owing to rising adoption of green packaging among consumers. Moreover, growing usage of biodegradable plastics in shopping bags and disposable cutlery is expected to fuel demand over the next eight years.

Global polylactic acid market volume by application, 2016 (%)

Global polylactic acid market

Rising demand for packaged foods including ready-to-eat meals, frozen meals, cake mixes, and snack foods is expected to increase flexible packaging requirements, thereby driving industry size. Rising consumption of flexible packaging in various countries including India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, China, and Germany is likely to fuel industry expansion.

PLA demand in the agriculture sector was 27.8 kilo tons in 2016 and is expected to grow significantly on account of increasing focus on reducing environmental pollution and increasing the overall yield of crops by providing the conductive environment.

Biodegradable products are increasingly being considered in nursery and gardening as they offer plant seeding growth and prevention of fruit rotting. This is expected to influence expansion and increase penetration of PLA in the agricultural sector over the upcoming years.

Regional Insights

North America was the dominant market for lactic acid and accounted for 34.4% of the overall volume share in 2016. The region is projected to show substantial growth in light of high demand for PLA and personal care products. Rising pharmaceutical and fragrance industry is expected to drive industry expansion in North America. Growing pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. and Mexico owing to government support and increasing investment by local participants will fuel industry expansion over the upcoming years.

Asia Pacific is projected to witness significant revenue growth at a CAGR of 19.8% from 2017 to 2025 for lactic acid as a result of the robust manufacturing base of personal care products in China, Japan, and India. Low production cost coupled with favorable government initiatives to promote FDIs is expected to propel food & beverages, and pharmaceuticals sector, which is likely to augment lactic acid demand over the forecast period.

Changing lifestyles along with rising consciousness regarding the enhancement of the overall personality of an individual in various countries including India, China, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka is expected to drive the global cosmetics market, which in turn is likely to spur growth.

Europe was the largest market for polylactic acid and is expected to show high revenue gains at a CAGR of 19.2% from 2017 to 2025 in light of regulatory norms on the implementation of bioplastics in various end-use sectors including food & beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, increasing cosmetic product distribution chains and broadening consumer demand for natural cosmetics will stimulate product demand.

Competitive Insights

The global industry is highly dynamic with increasing investment in R&D for product development by various players. Corbion, Cargill, Galactic, NatureWorks LLC, and Pyramid Bioplastics accounted for the maximum market share in 2016. The market is expected to witness intense competition over the forecast period on account of increasing focus on product development, high investment in research and development activities increasing production capacities.

In February 2016, Galactic launched Galamax Flavour V-100, a product aimed at preserving bakery products. In March 2014, Galactic introduced new ECOCERT approved products Galacid Cosmetic 90 (lactic acid-based) and Galaflow Cosmetic SL 60 (sodium lactate-based) for cosmetic applications. In November 2013, Galactic opened its subsidiary Galactic s.r.l in Italy in order to serve its customers in the country.

In October 2013, Corbion Purac and bio-film manufacturer Innovia developed temperature-stable and transparent PLA films. In March 2016, NatureWorks introduced Ingeo 3D860, a new formulation for 3D printing that provides heat resistance and impact strength to finished parts printed with PLA filaments.

Report Scope 



Base year for estimation


Actual estimates/Historical data

2014 - 2016

Forecast period

2017 - 2025

Market representation                                                

Volume in kilo tons, revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2017 to 2025

Regional scope

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S., Germany, China, Brazil

Report coverage             

Volume & Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends

15% free customization scope (equivalent to 5 analyst working days)

If you need specific market information, which is not currently within the scope of the report, we will provide it to you as a part of customization

Segments covered in the report

This report forecasts volume and revenue growth at global, regional & country levels and provides an analysis on the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global lactic acid & polylactic acid market on the basis of application and region:

  • Lactic Acid Application Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Industrial

    • Food and beverages

    • Pharmaceuticals

    • Personal care

    • Others

  • Polylactic Acid Application Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Packaging

    • Agriculture

    • Transport

    • Electronics

    • Textiles

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilo Tons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • North America

      • U.S.

    • Europe

      • Germany

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

    • Central & South America

      • Brazil

    • Middle East & Africa

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