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Published: June 2010
Global capacity utilization in the production of benzoic acid increased slightly to 68% in 2009, largely as a result of stronger demand in most world regions between 2006 and 2009. During 2006–2009, world capacity for benzoic acid grew in step with world consumption.
In 2009, beverages and food accounted for nearly 43% of the world consumption of benzoic acid in the form of sodium and potassium benzoate, up from 41% in 2006. This was mainly a result of increased use in preservation as packaged food and beverages continue to gain in popularity and availability. World consumption of benzoic acid in sodium and potassium benzoate is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of about 3% during 2009–2014. Other major applications include benzoate plasticizers, alkyd resins and animal feed.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of benzoic acid:
Sodium and potassium benzoate accounted for most consumption in Asia (where China is the largest world producer and consumer), Europe, and South and Central America. Benzoate plasticizers accounted for most consumption in North America and Central and Eastern Europe.
World growth prospects for benzoic acid in food and beverages are significant. The main factors behind this growth are:
- Improving living standards, particularly in Asia.
- Food safety (preservation); longer shelf lives are anticipated as more food and ready-to-drink beverages are consumed days or weeks after production.
- Increased popularity of processed foods and ready-to-drink beverages.
Demand growth in Europe and North America is largely attributable to increased consumption in benzoate plasticizers; in both regions, production and demand for benzoate plasticizers are forecast to grow significantly. This is largely due to use as replacements for phthalate plasticizers, some of which are being increasingly regulated; these regulations are the main drivers behind increased demand for benzoate plasticizers. Asian demand for benzoic acid in benzoate plasticizers is also expected to grow quickly; however, consumption volumes are considerably smaller than in both Europe and North America. In Asia, sodium and potassium benzoate and benzoyl chloride are also fast-growing markets for benzoic acid. China has become the world’s main supplier of benzoyl chloride and sodium benzoate.