Specialty oleochemicals are special plant-based industrial chemicals and are highly priced with high profit margins. These oleochemicals exhibit interesting characteristic to be used across wide range of applications. Some of the properties include surface activity, emulsifying properties along with the beneficial biological properties. Specialty oleochemicals hold very crucial advantage of being ‘green’ relative to their petrochemical counterpart.
The specialty oleochemicals market is primarily driven by the sustainability factor due to its plant-based raw materials and wide array of applications globally. These chemical compounds are widely used in food, pharmaceuticals, personal care, and other consumer products. Specialty oleochemicals are also used in drilling fluids, paints, inks, agrochemicals, textile materials, and in deicing chemical agents.
Rising economic growth of several developing countries in the world, with complex lifestyles and increase in personal disposable incomes has boosted the growth of consumer goods and commodities making use of specialty chemicals. Consumer awareness concerning the environmentally sustainable products has also led to increased demand of end-use products made from specialty oleochemicals.
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The supportive regulatory framework has essentially contributed to the growth of the global specialty oleochemicals market. These oleochemicals hold significant potential for replacing petrochemical based products in few end-use applications such as paints, inks, textiles, and plastic & polymer additives. Thus, these specialty compounds represent a positive picture in terms of the growth during the forecast period.
Asia Pacific is the dominant regional player for the specialty oleochemicals. The export trade of palm oil, a major raw material for specialty oleochemicals, is dominated by the Southeast Asian countries, mainly Indonesia and Malaysia. These countries have been major exporters of palm oil for almost a decade. However, palm cultivation in these countries have taken place extremely fast, thus a stagnating export is anticipated on account of environmental impacts.
North America has also witnessed significantly higher growth in the specialty oleochemicals market. The region has witnessed high demand for personal care and pharmaceutical products that are obtained from natural derivatives. Some minor applications such as drilling fluids and inks markets have also grown substantially in terms of demand.
The specialty oleochemicals market is moderately competitive and highly consolidated. It constitutes of large number of domestic and international market players. Integration by key market players from the procurement stage to the distribution stage of the value chain is also a major phenomenon in this market. Some of key oleochemical market players include Emery Oleochemicals, KLK Oleo, IOI Group, Oleon, Evonik Industries, Kao Corporation, Vantage Specialty Chemicals, and Wilmar International.