Published March 2014
In 2013, beverages and food accounted for nearly 49% of world consumption of benzoic acid in the form of sodium and potassium benzoate, up from 43% in 2009. 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 3.0% during 2013–2018. World consumption of benzoic acid in benzoate plasticizers continues to grow dramatically, increasing at an average annual rate of 10.7% between 2009 and 2013; this growth was driven largely by replacement of phthalate plasticizers in an increasing variety of applications. Other major applications include alkyd resins, benzoyl chloride and animal feed.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of benzoic acid:
Asia Pacific and Europe accounted for 64% and 22.5%, respectively, of world consumption of benzoic acid in 2013, followed by North America with nearly 12%. Sodium and potassium benzoate accounted for most consumption in Asia (where China is the largest world producer and consumer), Europe, and Central and South 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
- Continuing urbanization
- Desire for convenience (increased popularity of processed foods and ready-to-drink beverages)
Demand growth in Europe and the Americas 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 because of 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 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.
Stricter environmental regulations affecting the use of alkyd resins will limit the growth of benzoic acid in this application.