Propionic acid is a colorless liquid with pungent smell. It is miscible with water and few organic solvents and is also known by synonyms like carboxylic acid, carboxyethane, ethanecarboxylic acid, ethylformic acid, etc. Propionic acid is a naturally occurring substance which is available in the form of esters in essential oils. Key raw materials used for the production of propionic acid are carbon monoxide and ethylene.
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Propionic acid is used as a versatile preservative for human food and animal feed. It also serves as a synthetic intermediate to produce pharmaceuticals, crop protection agents and solvents. Moreover, propionic acid is used to manufacture esters, vitamin E and also as a flavoring agent in food products. In the manufacture of cellulose acetate propionate (CAP), a thermoplastic, propionic acid is utilized as an intermediate. Growth trends of food, feed, and pharmaceutical industries are expected to remain key factors affecting the market growth of propionic acid and the global market is expected to increase at a moderate CAGR over the forecast period 2016-2016.
The increasing application of propionic acid as a food & an animal feed preservative is expected to be a key factor driving the growth of the propionic acid market globally. Consumption of propionic acid in herbicides and in the manufacture of cellulose acetate propionate is also expected to be significant through 2026.
Ever increasing global food demand, coupled with the rising need for hygienic food products, drives the demand for food preservation which, in turn, is expected to boost the global propionic acid market for its use as mold inhibitors in food products. Due to changing lifestyle, consumption of packaged food, which requires the use of preservatives, has significantly increased over the past few years and is expected to fuel the demand for propionic acid across the globe.
The macroeconomic growth of the agricultural industry is further expected to push the demand for propionic acid globally. Propionic acid is used to control the growth of molds on crops and also protects various agriculture products from bacteria. A significant amount of propionic acid is consumed globally to manufacture cellulose acetate propionate (CAP). Moderately growing downstream consumption of CAP is expected to facilitate the growth of the global propionic acid market, though at a modest CAGR, over the forecast period.
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Human exposure of propionic acid, either through skin, eye, ingestion, and inhalation, may be dangerous and special care is required while treating and transporting the same.
Due to growing population and food & feed production, market outlook for Asia-Pacific is expected to remain fairly positive over the coming years. In North America and Western Europe, the propionic acid market is expected to increase at moderate CAGR. USA and Western Europe are estimated to stand among key suppliers of propionic acid. USA was a net exporter of propionic acid and its salts & esters in 2015. China and India accounted for significant shares in the overall Asia Pacific market demand and major demand was met was imports in 2015.
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