The chemical compounds, produced from organic and inorganic acids in which –OH group is replaced by alkyl group are said to be esters. Fatty acid esters are also known as oleochemical substances which are natural substitutes to petroleum products. These esters originate from carboxylic acid and alcohol and are formed by combination of alcohols and fatty acids. These fatty acids undergo esterfication process to form fatty acid esters. The key raw materials from which fatty acids esters are produced include vegetable oils such as palm oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil among others.
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Fatty acid esters are basically divided into four product types such as medium chain triglycerides, glyceryl monostearates, isopropyl palmitate and others including polyol esters, glycol esters and sucrose esters which have a wide range of applications. Medium chain triglycerides are generally man-made fats which are prepared from palm oil. They help in weight reduction by burning calories. Glyceryl monostearate accounted for over 40% share of the global fatty acid esters market in 2013. It is an organic molecule which is used as an emulsifier in the food industry. It is used as a thickening and emulsifying agent for various applications in the food industry. Isopropyl palmitate is produced using palm oil and is used as an emollient and thickening agent in wide range of cosmetics such as lotions and creams. Isopropyl palmitate is expected to boost demand for fatty acid esters market due to growing demand from the cosmetic industry globally. The others including polyol esters, glycol esters and sucrose esters accounted for a relatively smaller share of the global fatty acid esters market. These esters have a wide range of applications in the end-user industries such as paper, pharmaceutical and surfactant among others.
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Owing to its functional properties, fatty acid esters are suitable for a range of applications in several end-user industries. Fatty acid esters are capable of replacing natural fatty acid esters in the human skin. They provide protection to the skin, making it smooth by reducing the greasy feel on the skin. This property of fatty acid esters has led to increased demand from the cosmetic and personal care industry. The rising demand for fatty acid esters from the personal care and cosmetic industry is the major driving factor for fatty acid esters in the market. Fatty acid esters have potential scope for growth in the food industry as they are used on a large scale as flavoring agents and also have application as a thickening agent in dairy industry. As the raw material used for production of fatty acid esters include oils and fats, the volatile prices of key feedstock may affect the production cost of fatty acid esters. The factors such as global development of biofuel industry and consumption of edible oil in emerging economies lead to volatile prices of raw material. These factors are thereby responsible to hamper the growth of fatty acid esters market worldwide. However, Asia Pacific is expected to create opportunities for fatty acid esters market due to increasing demand from the food and end-user industries in the region. Growing demand from the pharmaceutical industry is also expected to boost demand for fatty acid esters market in the near future.
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Personal care products and cosmetics and food being the major applications of fatty acid esters, is extensively used in Asia Pacific and North America. North America accounted for the largest share of the global fatty acid esters market in 2013. Europe accounted for approximately 20% of the global fatty acid esters market share in 2013 and is expected to lose market share during the forecast period due to volatile prices and strict regulations imposed by Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of chemicals (REACH) in the region. The developing region such as Asia Pacific is expected to boost demand for fatty acid esters due to increasing demand from the food industry in the region. Growing end-user industries that include paper, pharmaceutical and surfactant are also expected to boost demand for fatty acid esters in the region. Rest of the World (RoW) including the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and Latin America accounted for a relatively lesser share of the global fatty acid esters market in 2013. RoW is also expected to fuel demand for fatty acid esters due to huge consumption of fatty acid esters in the region.