Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) or cellulose gel is a naturally occurring polymer. It is cellulose that has been purified and partly depolymerized by treating alpha-cellulose, which is derived from wood pulp. MCC is used as an anti-caking agent, texturizer, emulsifier, fat substitute, and bulking agent in the food industry. It is usually available in odorless, white, free flowing powdered form and is insoluble in water, dilute acids, and most organic solvents. MCC is considered suitable for consumption as it is produced from bio-based raw materials and does not degrade during the process of digestion. It is primarily used in food items to impart dietary bulk (as a bulking agent).
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It can also be used as a natural laxative. MCC displays significant compressibility, efficient binding ability, and has a large surface area with considerably high internal porosity. This makes it suitable as an excipient in pharmaceutical applications. MCC is used in different end-user industries such as pharmaceutical, food, personal care, paints and coatings. In terms of revenue, the global MCC market was valued at US$ 632.9 Mn in 2013 and is projected to reach US$ 936.3 Mn by 2020, expanding at a CAGR of 5.8% from 2014 to 2020.
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Pharmaceutical was the largest segment of the global MCC market, accounting for more than 35% share in 2013. It is anticipated to be the fastest growing end-user segment of the global MCC market in the next six years. Increasing demand for pharmaceuticals led by growth in the global geriatric population base and introduction of innovative products is expected to drive the global demand for excipients. This, in turn, is estimated to boost the demand for MCC in the next six years. Furthermore, MCC has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) as a safe food ingredient. Thus, the list of food items containing MCC is increasing significantly. Additionally, growth in the market for low fat foods is likely to propel demand for MCC during the forecast period.
The global MCC market has been segmented based on regions such as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of the World (RoW). North America was the largest regional market for MCC, constituting over 30% share in 2013. Rising demand for MCC in pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries is expected to drive the MCC market in North America in the next few years.
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Asia Pacific is anticipated to be the fastest growing region in the global MCC market during the forecast period. Increasing demand for MCC in emerging economies in Asia, such as China, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, is likely to drive the MCC market in Asia Pacific in the next few years. The MCC market in North America and Europe is estimated to expand significantly in the next six years, due to slow but steady recovery of the economy in the U.S. and developed countries across Europe. The MCC market in RoW is projected to expand significantly in the next few years, owing to rising demand for MCC in regions such as Latin America and the Middle East.
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