Shifts in natural polymer landscape
The fracking boom in North America reached its apex in the 2010-2015 period. Now the key natural polymers used in oilfield applications, guar gum and xanthan gum, will see more moderate growth going forward. However, the rising popularity of gluten-free foods should drive use of xanthan gum. Increasing demand for green alternatives in industries such as packaging and textiles will catapult other natural polymers into strong double-digit growth in the forecast period. Furthermore, food ingredients that offer pleasing eating and drinking experiences will propel growth for pectin. In addition, cellulose ethers will be supported by ongoing demand for waterbased, low VOC coatings.
New product introductions
According to Natural Polymers, a new study from The Freedonia Group, recent products include the 2015 US FDA-approved JUVEDERM ULTRA XC, which is made from hyaluronic acid, manufactured by Allergan for lip augmentations that lasts up to a year. Hyaluronic acid is exhibiting a surge in popularity as not only a dermal filler but also a moisturizer in topical applications. In food and beverage applications, to combat supply constraints and meet demands of the marketplace, TIC Gums has introduced a variety of pectin substitutes that contain natural polymers such as alginates, agar, and locust bean gum.
Weather & politics affect demand
Freedonia Group states that much of the change in natural polymer demand and pricing is due to the current state of supply, which is subject to various regions’ weather and geopolitical situations. Many natural polymers are indigenous to certain parts of the world. Poor crop yields in key growing areas have caused supply pinches and price inflation in pectin, for example, and has caused end users to seek out alternatives. Oil and gas producers, too, briefly sought out alternative solutions, namely to guar gum, as prices rose nearly tenfold between 2011 and 2012! Guar gum is mainly imported and openly traded on exchanges in India, where regulators suspended trading before it returned to lower price levels in 2013.
Natural Polymers analyzes the US market for natural polymers. It presents historical demand data (2005, 2010 and 2015) plus forecasts (2020 and 2025) by market (food and beverages, medical, oilfield, cosmetics and toiletries, coatings and inks, construction, adhesives, packaging, textiles, other) and product (cellulose ethers, starch and fermentation polymers, exudate and vegetable gums, protein-based polymers, marine polymers, other). The study also assesses key market environment factors, analyzes the industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles US industry competitors.
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