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In 2014, Europe and North America dominated the global sizing and thickening agents market by region. Developing countries are the primary exporters of thickening and sizing agents to North America and Europe. The developments in industries such as paper, textiles, and the growing demand for convenience food products in the Asia-Pacific region is driving the sizing & thickening agents market. Due to increasing consumer demand, cheaper raw materials and reduced labor costs, major industry players in the developing countries are establishing their ways by investing in various partnerships, acquisitions, expansions and research & development.
Sizing and thickening agents are substances which can increase the size and viscosity of a liquid without substantially changing its other properties. Edible thickeners are generally- used to thicken soups and sauces without altering their taste. Thickeners are also used in explosives, cosmetics, paints and inks.
The global sizing and thickening agents market can be segmented on the basis of sizing agent type, thickening agent type and sizing and thickening agent by application. Based on sizing agent type, the global market of sizing and thickening agent can be divided into natural sizing agents, synthetic sizing agents and others. The natural sizing agent segment includes starches, rosins and others (glue, albumen and cellulosic derivatives), synthetic sizing agents includes polyvinyl alcohol, styrene, the others segment includes alkenyl succinic anhydride, acrylic acids polymer, modified polyesters and alkyl ketene dimer. On the basis of thickening agent type, the global market of sizing and thickening agents can be divided into minerals, hydrocolloids and others. The mineral agents include clays, silica and others. The hydrocolloid agent includes starches, gelatin, pectin, cellulose, gums, carrageenan and others (protein thickeners and alginates and its derivative), the others segment in the thickening agent type includes synthetic polymer thickeners. On the basis of application, the sizing and thickening agent market can be categorized into food and beverages, paper and paperboard, paints and coatings, textiles and fibers, and others (including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and drilling fluids).
Hydrocolloids are the most extensively used thickening agents. Starch and its derivatives are the most widely used natural sizing and thickening agents and polyvinyl alcohol is the most widely used synthetic polymer used for sizing.
The growing demand for natural ingredients in food & beverage products is a major driver in the global sizing and thickening market. The hydrocolloids segment of the thickening agents market is driven by increasing demand for nutritive, healthy and convenience food products. The emerging trend of using clean-label products, which are slowly becoming compulsory across the globe, has created many opportunities for new formulations and new product developments in food & beverage segments.
Sizing agents are mostly used in the paperboard & paper industry. Sizing agents hold the printing ink and provide protection to paper against the penetration of water or other fluids. Chemical processes such as film formation and hydrophobation take place and lead to coating hold-out, effective printability of fine paper and gullibility in recycled grades.
Environmental pollution caused by sizing agents and depletion of mineral resources are the major challenges in the global sizing and thickening agents market.
Some of the prominent competitors in the global sizing and thickening agents market include CP Kelco, DuPont, Cargill, Incorporated, The Dow Chemical Company, Akzo Nobel N.V., FMC Corporation, Archer Daniels Midland Company, BASF SE and Ashland.