Global Statistics Representing Microcrystalline Cellulose Market Scenario
Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC) is purified and partially depolymerized cellulose in a pure form that is synthesized by treating alpha-cellulose with mineral acids. The degree of polymerization is typically lesser than 400, wherein about 10% of the material has a particle size smaller than 5 μm. MCC is a white, tasteless, odorless, crystalline powder composed of porous particles. It is hygroscopic in nature, and insoluble in water (swells when in contact with water). MCC is a useful alternative to sucrose as a matrix former during freeze-drying and a great substitute for carboxymethyl cellulose used in plaque assays. MCC has found a variety of applications in industries including pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and cosmetics and personal care, among others.
Microcrystalline Cellulose Lifecycle
The MCC market is steadily moving toward the maturity phase of its life-cycle as the product has penetrated several industrial sectors since its introduction. The market is highly fragmented due to the presence of various domestic and international players. Since the profit margin for the products has started to slowly shrink, manufacturers are striving to come up with creative solutions and attractive prices.
MCC as a Pharmaceutical Excipient
Microcrystalline cellulose is primarily used in the pharmaceutical industry, and its recent adoption as a pharmaceutical excipient has increased its demand in the industry. MCC serves as a disintegrating agent, filler, adsorbent, anti-sticking agent, and capsule diluent in various pharma products. In comparison to starch or its derivatives, MCC provides various advantages that have resulted in an increased preference in the pharmaceutical sector. Furthermore, it has excellent compressibility properties and is used in solid dosage forms such as tablets, capsules, pellets, and sachets. Research-based pharmaceutical companies significantly contribute to improving the global health scenario through the development of innovative medicines and currently spend over USD 149.8 billion on research and development per year. According to the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), the global pharmaceutical market will reach nearly USD 1,430 billion by 2020, which is projected to propel the microcrystalline cellulose market growth.
Processed Food Industry Increases MCC Demand
Fast-paced urbanization, along with the rapid increase in population, especially in developing economies, has been driving the demand for processed food, resulting in the growth of the food and beverage industry, which in turn has increased the demand for microcrystalline cellulose. For instance, according to data from the World Bank, the population of Indonesia rose from 264 million in 2017 to 267 million in 2018. In the food and beverage industry, MCC serves as an additive to give a creamy and smoothening touch and is mostly used in the preparation of low-fat dairy items such as whipped cream, ice cream, and frozen yogurt. The rising demand for low-fat packaged food, owing to health-conscious consumers, propels the market growth. Furthermore, it is also used in canned meat and condiments for improving stability. The major constituent of MCC, cellulose, is widely accepted as a dietary fiber. It finds significant applications in nutraceutical and functional food to enhance the working of the gastrointestinal tract and expression enzymes for lipid metabolizing.
MCC Raw Material Source
Wood has been the preferred raw material for MCC production. Hardwood (dicotyledons) and softwood (gymnosperms) are primary sources from which commercially produced wood pulp used to manufacture MCC is derived. Gymnosperms include pine trees, fir trees, spruce trees, and cycads. The chemical characteristics of MCC produced from a variety of wood sources differ owing to the minor differences in the composition of alpha-cellulose in different kinds of woods available. Despite a larger share of wood-based source segments, non-wood based raw material is estimated to grow at a high CAGR from 2019-2026. MCC derived from non-wood sources is an emerging market trend since alternate non-wood sources are being sought after in an attempt to be more environment-friendly. Additionally, the cost of MCC produced from non-wood-based sources is lower compared to wood-based MCC as agricultural waste is the primary raw material used in non-wood based MCC manufacturing.
Applications of MCC
In terms of both value and volume, the pharmaceutical segment portrayed the largest scope for applications of MCC in 2018, and the same trend is predicted to continue over the forecast period. MCC is a vital component used in every form of oral dosage and is being regularly used in quick-release tablets, liquid dosage forms, topical formulations and suspensions, sustained-release, and chewable and effervescent tablets, thereby fueling the overall growth of the market. Unique properties of MCC such as texturizing, bulking, and anti-caking are required to keep the packaged and processed food fresh for extended periods. This has led to an increased usage of MCC in the food and beverage industry. Furthermore, various hair care, skincare, and oral care products utilize MCC to improve quality and effectiveness, thus increasing MCC growth prospects in the cosmetics and personal care industry.
Among all the regions, Europe accounted for the largest market share in 2018, while Asia-Pacific is projected to grow at a high pace during the forecast period 2019-2026. The overall growth of Europe is driven by increasing research and development expenditure, investments in clinical trials, drug development, and persistent efforts by pharmaceutical companies to offer superior-quality products. The economic recovery and increasing employment rate are further supporting the growth of the processed food industry and, consequently, the MCC market as well.
Improving eating habits pertaining to health consciousness amongst consumers incite the demand for nutritional food. Expansion of the pharmaceutical industry and large-scale production of pharma products further generate interest for MCC. MCC is extensively used in formulations where it acts as a binder/diluent in oral tablets and capsule formulations, including both direct-compression and wet-granulation process. Moreover, the availability of cheap labor and low-cost material, specifically in emerging nations such as China and India, have favored microcrystalline cellulose market growth. Active lifestyles, change in consumption patterns, and an increase in disposable incomes have increased the demand for packaged, processed, ready-to-eat, and ready-to-cook food, which has generated significant demand for MCC. As per the 2016-2017 Annual Survey of Industries, there are 37,175 registered food processing units in India. According to an Assocham-Grant Thornton study, the Indian food processing sector has the potential to attract USD 33 billion in investment by 2024 in food and beverage manufacturing.
Along with innovation, manufacturers of microcrystalline cellulose are increasing their product offerings to augment revenue generation. For instance, DPE pharma recently announced the launch of Pharmacel 112 with low-moisture lactose grade to formulate Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). Recently in July 2018, the company announced the successful optimization of its supply chain for pharmaceutical excipients. DFE Pharma has invested heavily in capacity expansion at its factories to meet global demand for these high-quality excipients, namely, pharmaceutical-grade lactose and MCC.
The MCC industry players are forming mergers and acquisitions to reinforce their regional presence and product penetration. Manufacturers are constantly employing research and development activities, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, which provides a positive outlook on new product development and product portfolio expansion. Moreover, industry players emphasizing on fat-free food products is another influencing factor for volume growth over the assessment period.
The prominent players of the MCC industry are DuPont (US), Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corporation (Japan), Rayonier Advanced Materials (US), Roquette (France), DFE Pharma GmbH and Co.KG (Germany), FMC Corporation (U.S.), Accent Microcell Pvt. Ltd. (India), Sigachi Industries Pvt. Ltd. (India), and Ming Tai Chemical Co. Ltd. (U.S.).
There are multiple ways to synthesize MCC, including acid hydrolysis, reactive extrusion, steam explosion, and enzyme-mediated synthesis. The acid hydrolysis process is ideal and is preferred due to shorter duration requirements over others. The process offers the possibility to be applied as a continuous process rather than the batch type. The acid hydrolysis process consumes a limited quantity of acid to produce more fine MCC particles as the end product. Post-hydrolysis steps, including spray drying/air stream drying and sieving, permit manufacturers to manipulate the final lot bulk density, mean particle size, and PSD to produce the final product within specification. Therefore, acid hydrolysis is adopted by the majority of manufacturers for synthesizing microcrystalline cellulose.
Microcrystalline Cellulose Market Segmentation
By Raw Material Source
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