In volume terms, the global alkyl polyglucosides (APG) biosurfactants market had exceeded 90 kilo tons in 2015. It is expected to reach around 136 kilo tons by 2024. Ongoing trends suggest that the market capacity will expand at a CAGR of over 4.5% in the forecast period (2016-2024). In terms of revenue, it stood at nearly USD 480 million in 2015. Growing at a CAGR of 5.5% revenue-wise, the alkyl polyglucosides biosurfactants market is projected to surpass USD 791 million by 2024 from around USD 480 million in 2015.
Alkyl polyglucosides are non-ionic surfactants which are used extensively in varied applications. Alkyl polyglucosides are extracted from natural products, such as fatty alcohols, sugars, cornstarch, vegetable oil, starch, and others. Ample availability of renewable inputs like corn starch and fatty alcohols will support industrial growth.
This product is processed either in one step or in two steps. It is derived from the catalytic reaction of monofunctional glucose and alcohols. Fatty alcohol and corn starch are the major raw materials used in the one step process. Whereas, in the two step process, butyl glucoside derived from butanol is reacted with fatty alcohol. APG biosurfactants exhibit strong cleansing properties with no turbidity. Other qualities of alkyl polyglucosides are foaming, anti-streaking, filming, oil removal, and skin-friendliness. Being water soluble these are used in a range of products, like cosmetics, detergents, paint strippers, and emulsifiers.
Popularity of organic and natural cosmetics and personal care products can drive the alkyl polyglucosides biosurfactants industry. Moreover, growing awareness about sustainable products will play a key role in fuelling growth. Multi-national companies (MNCs) invest in the research and development (R&D) of personal care products derived from renewable sources. This is projected to reduce the demand for potentially harmful chemicals and inorganic substances, like aluminum salts, phthalates, and parabens. Moreover, consumers expect products to be of high quality, since they are derived from natural ingredients. These factors together would compel manufacturers to employ cost-effective technologies for enhanced production.
Customers these days are highly aware of environmental hazards caused by petroleum based products. This will propel the demand for eco-friendly alternatives. The processing of alkyl polylucosides biosurfactants being an expensive one could hinder market growth. Lack of awareness in Latin America and Asia Pacific may lead to sluggish industrial growth. Availability of cheaper alternatives will also be a key challenge. However, the rising availability of raw materials could stabilize market price in these regions.
The alkyl polyglucosides (APG) biosurfactants market is fragmented into applications and regions. Based on applications, the industry is divided into personal care, cosmetics, household detergents, agricultural chemicals, and industrial cleaners. Personal care and cosmetics will continue to dominate during the forecast period. The non-toxicity of APG biosurfactants makes them an ideal component in facial cleansers, hand soaps, shower gels, shampoos, oral care products, wipes, and other personal care products.
Within applications, household detergents held the largest share and is expected to expand steadily till 2024. Alkyl polyglucosides biosurfactants are present in household products, such as fabric softeners, detergents, car wash, and laundry detergents. Furthermore, the product is found in Industrial & Institutional (I&I) industrial cleansers and even in dispersants. Within the agriculture segment, APG biosurfactants are used in agrochemical formations, like insecticides, herbicides, and other similar biocides. It is a key component in ski wax used for snowboards, defoamers, anti-fogging products, inks, and in laxatives.
Geographically, the global APG biosurfactants fragmented into Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa (MEA). Europe dominated the alkyl polyglucosides (APG) biosurfactants industry over the past couple of years. This region will register steady growth in the forecast period. Demand in this region owes to the product’s presence in the personal care and cosmetics segments in countries, like the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, and France. Consumers in these regions demonstrate greater preference for organic and natural ingredients.
Growth of the European market can be accredited to growing awareness among consumers about eco-friendly and biodegradable products.
The polyglucosides biosurfactants industry is at present led by Germany. However, Sweden, UK, Italy, and France are anticipated to dominate the market in the forthcoming years.
The Asia Pacific industry is driven by increasing awareness about the ill-effects of petrochemical and synthetic surfactants. Moreover, rise in the standard of living and disposable income of the middle class population can boost the demands for personal care products, agrochemical formulation, and household detergents. This may further add to the regional demand.
Robust demand for agrochemicals makes China the largest producer of APG biosurfactants in the Asia Pacific region. The country is also witnessing widespread application of this substance in various areas. High price sensitivity and lack of awareness in the region could impede market performance.
North America is expected to perform favorably during the forecast period. Shift of focus from synthetic products to renewable and natural alternatives in the U.S. and Canada will stand to benefit the industry in the long run.
The product is quickly replacing conventional surfactants like linear alkyl benzene (LAB) in the North America market. This trend can be attributed to widespread awareness among consumers. Likewise, greater initiatives being taken by the government will also support industry demand. Surging demand for household detergents, hard surface cleaners, car washing detergents, and fabric softeners could drive the U.S industry in the coming years.
Latin America is a potential market for APG biosurfactants. Increasing awareness and demand for eco-friendly surfactants can propel industrial growth. Applications, such as agrochemicals and household detergents will fuel not only this region but also the global market.
Prominent players in the global alkyl polyglucosides (APG) biosurfactants industry are BASF SE, LG Household & Health Care, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, and The Dow Chemical Company.
BASF acquired Germany-based Cognis Holding GmbH in late 2010; making it the world’s largest APG surfactant producer. BASF employs the one-step process. The company markets alkyl polyglucosides for application in personal care products under the name of “Plantaren”. The product is produced in China, Cincinnati, Dusseldorf in Germany, and the USA.
Research Support Specialist, USA