The global specialty oleochemicals market size was estimated at USD 20.0 billion in 2019 and is expected to witness a revenue-based CAGR of 7.7%. Increasing demand for biopolymers is projected to positively influence the market for specialty oleochemicals. Growing concerns regarding plastic/polymers biodegradability have triggered manufacturers in the market to focus on the development of bio-based alternatives.
The market is highly influenced by abundant feedstock supply from Asia Pacific, which is one of the significant factors behind the inflated prices of specialty oleochemicals in North America and Europe. Therefore, raw material suppliers and integrated plantation-based Asia Pacific manufacturers have substantial growth opportunities in the market for specialty oleochemicals.
To strengthen market position and revenues, the market participants are entering into a significant number of collaborations with the distributors, which helps them achieve greater penetration into the market for specialty oleochemicals. In November 2019, Emery Oleochemicals entered into a collaborative agreement with Omya Inc. in order to expand its distribution network. Participation in R&D, along with new and innovative product launches, is one of the factors driving intense competition among the players.
Furthermore, compliance with the national and international regulatory norms is one of the critical concerns for the manufacturers. Compliance with these norms for sustainable cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution has turned out as a significant winning factor for manufacturers involved in domestic as well as offshore businesses.
Integration along the value chain has helped the players maximize profits and negate the participation of external players. Emery Oleochemicals and Vantage Specialty Chemicals have vertically integrated their business by participating in in-house plantation, raw material procurement, production, and distribution. KLK OLEO and IOI Group have integrated their backward functions with the help of their large palm oil plantations in Malaysia.
Specialty esters are an alternative to chemicals and materials that are manufactured using petroleum for various applications. These chemicals help manufacturers and consumers adhere to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) guidelines, which emphasizes the use of biobased resources in environmentally sensitive applications to decrease carbon footprint.
Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) is a derivative of fatty acid ester. It is manufactured by the transesterification of methanol and fats (vegetable oils, waste cooking oils, or animal fats) in the presence of sodium methoxide or sodium hydroxide as a catalyst. FAME is used for the production of biodiesel and detergents and is superior to conventional fossil fuel in terms of its sulfur content, carbon emission, and biodegradability.
Glycerol esters, also known as acylglycerols or glycerides, are formed by the reaction between glycerol and fatty acids. Food-grade glycerol is significantly used in the production of ice creams, chewing gums, flavored beverages, and cosmetics. Glycerol has three hydroxyl groups, which can be esterified to form triglycerides, diglycerides, and monoglycerides. These are further used for the production of glycerol monostearate (GMS), medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), oleates, glycerol di-stearate, and other glycerides.
In personal care and cosmetics, specialty oleochemical derivatives/formulations find application in creams, skincare, sun care, hair care, and oral care products. The growing demand for organic and anti-aging products to maintain a youthful appearance is driving the need for personal care products. This, in turn, is expected to trigger the demand for specialty oleochemicals derivatives in personal care and cosmetics application segment. Over the past decade, this industry has shown continuous growth coupled with increasing shelf space in supermarkets, hypermarkets, retail stores, and boutique stores across the world.
The consumer goods segment comprises of products such as perfumes, soaps, shampoos, cleaners, and detergents, where specialty oleochemicals are directly consumed by consumers in accordance with their needs. The shifting consumer preference toward use of less toxic and natural ingredients in household cleaners, detergents, plastics products is expected to drive the specialty oleochemicals market over the forecast period.
In the food processing segment, specialty oleochemical derivatives are used in frozen foods, confectionery, and beverage processing. Alcohol ethoxylates sulfates, sucrose esters, and glycerol esters are some of the specialty oleochemical derivatives that are majorly used in the food processing industry. Shifting consumer preference for healthier diet intake and consumer inclination toward weight loss programs is expected to steer product demand in food additives and processing applications over the long term.
The textiles segment comprises chemical agents that are used in fiber finishing, textile printing, fabric softener, and coning fall applications. Specialty oleochemical derivatives are used as microbial agents, antistatic agents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, dyeing agents, and lubricants. The ongoing technological innovation in textile processing and spinning is anticipated to urge fabric processors to incorporate multifunctional products to enhance their textile operations over the long term.
In 2019, Asia Pacific dominated the market for specialty oleochemicals and is likely to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period. This can be attributed to the presence of a large number of manufacturers in Malaysia and Indonesia. The abundance of raw materials such as palm oil and palm kernel oil coupled with huge captive consumption in the region has been motivating manufacturers to increase their capacities in the region. The trend is expected to drive the market for specialty oleochemicals in the region over the forecast.
Favorable regulatory policies by Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) with the aim to promote sustainable chemicals and petrochemical alternatives are expected to drive the growth of the market for specialty oleochemicals in Europe. The growing demand for biodiesel on account of rising petroleum prices in the region is expected to drive the demand for glycerin over the forecast period. In addition, increasing demand for biodiesel as an alternative to conventional petroleum diesel is expected to drive the demand for specialty oleochemicals, such as glycerin and methyl ester sulfonate, over the forecast period.
In North America, stringent government regulations regarding the usage of petroleum-based products owing to their harmful environmental effects have fostered the demand for specialty oleochemicals in the region. Rising demand from several end-use industries, including personal care cosmetics, healthcare, food processing, is expected to augment product consumption.
The market for specialty oleochemicals is highly innovation-driven with application development for customized solutions as an absolute necessity. Market players are continually looking to develop new products through R&D activities for emerging applications and end-use markets. This is maintaining high competition among the players.
Established and experienced players are developing high-level technology to improve product standards, thereby ensuring consistency in product quality. Market giants, as well as local players, are focused on developing new products to cater to specific requirements of manufacturers from application industries.
Companies are focusing on acquisitions, joint ventures, mergers, and collaborations with other players to acquire a larger share in the market for specialty oleochemicals. This helps them increase their client base as well as product portfolio. For instance, in September 2017, H.I.G. Capital announced the acquisition of Vantage Specialty Chemicals, Inc. from The Jordan Company for USD 1.0 billion. According to the agreement, Vantage’s six manufacturing facilities located in the U.S. and 14 overseas distribution centers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and South Africa became part of H.I.G Capital.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2016 - 2018
2020 - 2027
Volume in kilotons, revenue in USD million, and CAGR from 2020 to 2027
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, Middle East & Africa
U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, UAE, Saudi Arabia, South Africa
Volume forecast, revenue forecast, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends
15% free customization scope (equivalent to 5 analysts working days)
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This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2016 to 2027. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global specialty oleochemicals market report on the basis of product, application, and region:
Product Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Fatty Acid Methyl Esters
Application Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Personal Care & Cosmetics
Paints & Inks
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Polymer & Plastics Additives
Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Central & South America
Middle East & Africa
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Specialty Oleochemicals are widely used in soaps, detergents, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, etc. Fats & oils are the raw materials used for oleochemistry. THE recent COVID-19 outbreak is projected to impact the oleochemicals market from the raw material perspective as well as on the product itself. As supply tightens amid lockdowns in major raw material producing areas, shipments are likely to be delayed. Manufacturers are focused on developing a contingency plan by building stock to maintain supply and delivery. These trends shall have a considerable impact on oleochemicals as well as specialty oleochemicals demand patterns. The updated report will account for COVID-19 as a key market contributor.