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Published: October 2009
Sodium bicarbonate (bicarb) is a member of the chlor-alkali family. Most of its global production is derived from natural and synthetic soda ash; the United States is the only country utilizing both nahcolite and soda ash (trona) as raw materials.
The major use of bicarb is in animal feed, accounting for roughly one-third of all bicarb consumption globally. Chinese sodium bicarbonate consumption for animal feed has increased significantly, responding to the rapid growth of the feed industry because of the rapid development of the livestock sector in China. China is currently the second-largest feed producer in the world. Demand for specific grades of bicarb differs among the United States, Europe and Japan. In the United States, two-thirds of domestic bicarb use is for differentiated (higher-value) grades; in Europe, less than half of total domestic use is for differentiated grades, and in Japan, just over one-third.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of sodium bicarbonate by end use:
The outlook for growth in sodium bicarbonate consumption varies by region. Average growth during 2008–2013 is expected to be 2.7% per year globally.