The global propionic acid market size was valued at USD 1.3 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 1.74 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 3.3% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
The chemical name for propionic acid is carboxylic acid, and the chemical formula is CH₃CH ₂CO₂H. Propionic acid is a colorless, smelly, liquid organic acid produced during fermentation. Anaerobic bacteria produce propionic acid. Both lactate and sugar are acceptable starting materials for propionic acid. It prevents the growth of various molds. It also possesses antibacterial properties. A fungicide and bactericide, propionic acid, is approved to control fungi and bacteria in grains that have been stored, poultry litter, and cattle and poultry drinking water.
The principal application for propionic acid is as a versatile preservative in food for humans and animals. It is used to make crop protection agents, medications, and solvents in the service of a synthetic intermediate. Moreover, propionic acid is employed in manufacturing esters and vitamin E and as an ingredient in culinary products. Acid esters are substituted for chemical flavorings in artificial flavorings. Furthermore, it is a natural preservative added to cheese and baked products. With the intention of preservation, they are also used in packaging various ready-to-eat foods.
The growth of several molds is inhibited by propionic acid. Antibacterial characteristics are also present in propionic acid. It is a natural preservative that extends the shelf life of cheese, baked items like tortillas, and bread. In order to preserve the food, they are also utilized in packaging for different ready-to-eat foods. The use of propionic acid in the food and beverage industry drives market growth. In the agricultural industry, grain and animal feed are preserved with propionic acid. Moreover, it is utilized to disinfect grain and silage storage spaces.
In addition, propionic acid is used as an antibacterial agent in animals' drinking water. Even chicken litter is sprayed to eliminate bacteria and fungus. According to the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020-2029, expanding the cattle industry will increase feed demand. According to predictions, corn, wheat, and protein meal imports will satisfy 75% of the world's feed requirements. This trend results from policies that give food crop development precedence over feed crop development. Hence, these development drivers are predicted to drive the revenue expansion of the propionic acid market over the forecast period.
Propionic acid is utilized as a preservative in animal foods such as hay, corn, oats, wheat, sorghum, and barley, which is expected to drive market growth. The acid is sprayed onto poultry litter to kill fungi and bacteria in poultry. It can also be used as an antibacterial agent when placed into poultry or livestock water. Such broad uses are anticipated to boost the growth of the propionic acid market.
Natural preservative propionic acid is a safe intermediate that can be employed in several manufacturing procedures. Skin contact could result in painful burns and significant discomfort if skin contact is not done safely. It can cause acute irritability and blindness if it enters someone's eyes. It can also irritate a person's nasal passages and throat if inhaled. In a similar vein, it is quite improbable that it will do any harm if it is unintentionally consumed in small amounts.
Furthermore, if someone swallows a lot of this substance or a very concentrated form, it can irritate and burn the digestive tract, including the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. In addition, if a person accidentally inhales propionic acid when ingesting it, it can damage the lungs and, in severe cases, lead to death. Therefore, these factors are expected to hinder market growth.
Propionic acid is a fungicide and bactericide that has been licensed for use in managing fungi and bacteria in the hay, animal and poultry drinking water, grain storage facilities, and poultry litter. Propionic acid works well as an antimicrobial growth promoter for both the safety of human health and safe animal goods. In place of chemical flavorings, acid esters are utilized as solvents or artificial flavorings. These applications for propionic acid have substantial market expansion prospects.
The global propionic acid market is segmented by application and end-user industry.
Based on application, the global propionic acid market is bifurcated into herbicides, rubber products, plasticizers, food preservatives, and others.
The food preservative segment is the highest contributor to the market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 2.7% over the forecast period. Food preservation is treating food with preservatives to stop or slow down spoilage caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and others and increase the shelf life of food. Propionic acid can prevent the growth of various molds, and it possesses antibacterial properties. It is a natural preservative in cheese and baked goods such as tortillas and bread. In addition, most people prefer ready-to-eat food available in the market. This food contains various additives and preservatives to maintain quality and reduce spoilage, which fuels the demand for food preservatives. A surge in need for food preservatives drives the propionic acid market growth. Furthermore, increased demand for natural preservatives drives market growth. However, the shift toward organic food is expected to restrain the growth of convenience food products and hampers the development of the global propionic acid market.
Plasticizers are polymer additives that increase the workability, flexibility, softness, and volatility of plasticized materials such as aliphatic, phthalate, and terephthalate compounds. Depending on the type of modifications made to the materials they are applied, they may be internal or exterior. The production of plasticizers involves propionic acid as an intermediate. The rise in demand for flexible polymers in different applications and the increase in adoption of non-phthalate & high molecular weight phthalate plasticizers lead to an increase in the production of plasticizers. Furthermore, this increase in plasticizer production leads to increased use of propionic acid, thereby driving market growth. Expansion in the packaging sector fuels a rise in plasticizer production, boosting the propionic acid market. However, stringent regulatory bans on some of the phthalates and toxicity of polymers limit the production of plasticizers, thereby restraining the propionic acid market growth.
Based on the end-use industry, the global propionic acid market is segmented into pharmaceuticals, personal care, food and beverage, agriculture, and others.
The food and beverage segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 2.4% during the forecast period. Propionic acid is a common food preservative used in bread, cakes, cheese, non-alcoholic beverages, jams, jellies, and other processed foods to prevent the development of mold and bacteria and increase shelf life. The global food and beverages industry is expanding quickly due to strong economic growth and population. Further, there has been an increase in the consumption of hydrating drinks. In fact, according to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian Food Processing industry is expected to grow over the next ten years. These factors are expected to boost the market's growth in this industry.
Propionic acid and its salts are utilized in the personal care industry to retard bacterial growth and balance their pH, thereby delaying the spoilage of cosmetic and personal care products, including perfumes. Sodium Lauriminodipropionate and Sodium Lauraminopropionate are sodium salts of propionic acid and may be used to formulate hair and cleansing products. The personal care industry is growing due to the consumption of male grooming and beauty products. The growth is mainly attributed to the aspiration among Indian men to look better groomed and increase disposable income. This trend is estimated to drive the development of the global propionic acid market.
Europe Dominates the Global Market
Based on region, the global propionic acid market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
Europe is the most significant shareholder in the global propionic acid market and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 2.7% during the forecast period. The Europe propionic acid market includes Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, and the rest of Europe. Europe is estimated to grow at a moderate rate and is marked by the presence of many manufacturers and suppliers of propionic acid. Germany is the region's primary food industry and agriculture sector market. Therefore, propionic acid use in both industries drives the market growth. In 2021, the European cosmetics and personal care market was worth 76.7 billion euros, according to Cosmetics Europe. Hence, the expansion of the cosmetics industry in Europe is projected to raise demand for propionic acid in the region. These factors increase the demand for propionic acid in many industries.
Furthermore, ongoing investments in the food industry further fuel the market growth. Italy has around 4% of the workforce dedicated to the agriculture sector. The agriculture industry in the country contributes around 2% to its GDP. The use of propionic acid in agriculture positively impacts market growth. On the other hand, the quality of Italy's industrial and pharmaceutical systems has attracted production activities previously carried out in other countries. Over the previous ten years, there has been a more than 55% increase in production value and volume. Hence, the market for propionic acid is anticipated to expand over the forecast period. Also, France is one of the largest consumers of pharmaceuticals and applications of propionic acid,which drivesthe market growth.
North America is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 3.6% over the forecast period. The North American propionic acid market is analyzed across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The region witnesses economic growth with a significant contribution from the U.S. The region has several industrial sectors that contribute to economic growth. In addition, North America is a substantial market for packaged and ready-to-eat food items. The busy lifestyle encourages the use of preserved food products in the region. Propionic acid as a food preservative promotes the growth of the propionic acid market. Moreover, the growing agriculture sector and rise in demand for poultry products led to increased use of propionic acid, which drives the market growth. However, the harmful effects of residual herbicides and propionic acid on human health restrain the market's growth.
The Asia-Pacific region has the presence of several emerging economies. Many countries in the region largely depend on agricultural output, contributing to the region's economic growth. The use of propionic acid in agriculture impacts the market growth in this region. Asia-Pacific is witnessing an increasing population because the two most populous countries fall in this region. Moreover, increased demand for food grains leads to increased agricultural activities, which further leads to increased use of herbicides. The increase in the need for herbicides positively impacts the propionic market growth. In addition, Asia-Pacific is witnessing growth in demand for packaged food; thus, propionic acid as a preservative is expected to drive market growth in the region. However, herbicides' toxic and harmful effects on human health and the ecosystem restrain the development of the propionic acid market.
LAMEA stands for Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The countries analyzed are Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the rest of LAMEA. The region has a significant presence in chemical, oil and gas, and many more industries. The demand for the region's propionic acid is relatively low. The Middle East is primarily an arid region, so the development of the agricultural sector has been hindered by factors such as weak infrastructure, small farms, soil deterioration, and water scarcity. The countries largely depend on importing food grains and packaged food. However, the automotive industry's presence that requires rubber products drives the propionic acid market growth. Moreover, the presence of chemical industries that manufacture plasticizers and other chemicals that require propionic acid further drives market growth.
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