Global sorbitol market size is expected to reach 2.34 million tons by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 3.6% from 2012 to 2020.
Increasing consumer awareness regarding the benefits offered by naturally derived ingredients is expected act as a favorable factor supporting sorbitol market growth over the next six years. It is found in a wide range of foods including pears, apples, peaches and prunes. It is used as thickening and sweetening agent in manufacturing personal care products such as skin creams, mouthwash, toothpaste and chewing gums.
Rising consumer awareness regarding health and safety risks posed by synthetically derived personal care products is expected to drive market growth. Growing organic personal care market is expected to fuel sorbitol demand in cosmetic products. Global organic personal care market was valued at USD 8,433.9 million in 2013 and is expected to reach USD 15,977.5 million by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 9.5% from 2014 to 2020.
Increasing artificial sweeteners demand owing to growing number of diabetic cases globally is expected to positively influence demand. It is also widely employed in frozen desserts for diabetic patients as it is slowly absorbed by the intestine and is metabolized into fructose. It is approximately 60% as sweet as sucrose; however it contains one-third fewer calories. It does not cause tooth decay and is largely employed in various sugarless products including sugarless candies and gums.
Growing domestic demand for foods & beverages in emerging markets of BRICS is anticipated to have a positive impact on global food & beverage industry. Increasing number of cafes, restaurants and bistros globally is likely to propel demand. It is used as a flavoring and bulking agent in the food & beverage industry.
Presence of favorable government regulations in various regions is anticipated to propel sorbitol market growth up to 2020. It is affirmed as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is approved for use as an artificial sweetener by the European Union and other countries around the world including Japan, Australia and Canada.
Tight supply of raw materials such as corn starch, may affect sorbitol prices and challenge industry growth. Investments in research to develop novel technologies for increasing production output at lower costs is expected to open up avenues for industry participant’s growth.
Liquid/syrup was the leading product segment with a market valuation of well over USD 850 million in 2013. Rising awareness towards low-calorie and sugar-free products is expected to increase the importance of sweet syrups. Increasing use of liquid types in sweet syrups for pharmaceutical applications is expected to drive market growth. This product is also intended to use as humectants in paste and topical preparations,
Crystal/powder accounted for over 17% of the market share and is expected to grow at sluggish growth rates of over 2.5% from 2012 to 2020. It is mainly used a food additive in manufacturing of mint tablets, chewing gum and frozen meat products. High cost of crystal types as compared to liquid counterparts is expected to result in slow growth rates up to 2020.
Cosmetics & personal care dominated the application segment with a market valuation of over USD 500 million in 2013. It is widely employed in manufacturing personal care products including toothpastes, toiletries and cosmetics. Rising awareness about oral hygiene is anticipated to drive demand for toothpastes. The toothpaste market is a significant consumer and it is used as a humidity control agent. Gel toothpastes contain up to 50% liquid sorbitol.
Food was the second largest end-use segment and accounted for more than 25% of the total volume in 2013. Increasing convenience food demand particularly in key regions of North America and Europe is likely to increase the demand.
Chemical end-use segment was valued over USD 400 million in 2013 and is expected to grow above average growth rates of over 3.5% up to 2020. Increasing application scope for bio-fuel and rocket fuel production is likely to surge demand.
Sweetening effect, thickening effect and compatibility with active ingredients are key properties which enables its use in pharmaceutical applications. In addition, it is also used in the form of sachets, tablets and dry syrups in non-carcinogenic and non-acidogenic formulations. It has low share in pharmaceuticals which comprised above 6% in 2013.
Diabetic & dietetic food & beverages dominated the application and was valued over USD 400 million in 2013. Rising prevalence of diabetes have increased the importance of functional foods fortified with low calorie and sugar free ingredients. As a result, food & beverage manufacturers are utilizing artificial sweeteners in their product offerings such as baked foods, frozen products, confectionaries and numerous cold drinks.
Toothpaste was the second largest application segment and accounted for more than 20% of the total volume in 2013 and is expected to grow at significant rates with an estimated CAGR of over 4% up to 2020. High refractive index of sorbitol allows its use as crystals in transparent gels in toothpaste applications.
Vitamin C application accounted for more than 15% of the total volume in 2013 with a market valuation of over USD 250 million. It is used as an intermediate for vitamin C production and is expected to witness growth in light of increasing consumption of essential nutrient by human and animal species.
Other applications include its use as surfactants in form of wetting & foaming agents, dispersants, detergents and emulsifiers.
Asia Pacific was the leading regional sorbitol market with valuation of over USD 650 million in 2013. Governments of China and India have framed numerous initiatives intended for promoting domestic production output of pharmaceutical and personal care industries by allowing FDIs. This factor is expected to drive demand in this region.
Europe was the second largest regional market and is expected to grow at sluggish growth rates of over 2.5% up to 2020. Declining pharmaceutical industry in France, Spain and Italy is expected to be responsible for this sluggish growth. European Commission announced Horizon 2020 Strategy, which is intended for promoting the industrial growth of naturally derived products. As a result, new investments in sorbitol market are anticipated to be witnessed in the near future.
North America accounted for over 20% of the market demand in 2013 and is expected to register over USD 450 million worth of demand by 2020. Growing demand for organic personal care products in the U.S. is anticipated to witness growth on account of rising awareness towards benefits of naturally derived ingredients in fortification of cosmetic products.
Competitive Market Share
Roquette Freres accounted for over 25% of the global sorbitol market share in 2013. The company manufactures and markets liquid and powder forms under the brand name, “NEOSORB.
Cargill accounted for over 15% of the overall share in 2013. Over the past few years, the company has been focusing on expanding its presence in the market by focusing on mergers and acquisitions.
Other companies include ADM, Danisco, Merck, Ecogreen Oleochemicals GmbH, Qinhuangdao Lihua Starch Co., Ltd. and Tereos Syral accounted for more than 40% of the global market in the same year.
Research Support Specialist, USA