The change in lifestyles and transformation in food consumption patterns are a result of socio-demographic and other consumer-centric factors, such as psychographic, behavioral, and geographic factors. These developments have led to the rising demand for various food items, namely cheeses, wines, baked products, fresh produce, and refrigerated meats, wherein sorbic acid is widely used as a preservative, as it possesses the ability to stop the growth of yeast and mold. Due to these factors, the global sorbic acid market is expected to generate $521,126.7 thousand in 2030, advancing at a CAGR of 4.7% during 2020–2030 (forecast period).
Since the majority of the production of sorbic acid takes place in China and the COVID-19 outbreak was first reported here, the international and domestic demand could not be properly met in the initial months of the pandemic, owing to the shutting down of factories in the country and restrictions on product import and export. This resulted in the piling up of negative stock in warehouses, which added to the cost and led to the reduction in profit margins. This further led to the restricted supply of sorbic acid, with domestic distributors withdrawing funds (investments) and profits slipping considerably. But the food & beverage and pharmaceutical industries, which are the major end users of sorbic acid, kept growing in this situation; hence, the market for sorbic acid was impacted only to a certain extent.
On the basis of application, the sorbic acid market is classified into food & beverages, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and others. Among these, the food & beverages classification held the largest share in 2019, and it is expected to remain the largest till 2030. This would primarily be due to the ability of the chemical to inhibit the growth of mold, yeast, and other microorganisms, thereby increasing the products’ shelf life. This is why sorbic acid is widely added to cheeses, dried fruits, yogurt, pet foods, dried meats, soft drinks, and baked goods. Furthermore, the addition of salts of sorbic acid raises the pH of the food slightly, so the pH may need to be adjusted to ensure safety.
On the basis of form, the sorbic acid market is classified into powdered and encapsulated. The encapsulated form is expected to be the faster-growing category during the forecast period, as it allows the compound to be directly added to food products in the dough form, thereby helping in their preservation without killing the yeast, when used during baking.
Geographically, the sorbic acid market in Asia-Pacific (APAC) is expected to witness lucrative growth as a consequence of the rapid urbanization, along with the rising consumer disposable income. This has led to progress in the demand for packaged products, including frozen foods, baked foods, and desserts, thus stimulating the consumption of sorbic acid, which acts as a food preservative. In addition, the changing consumption patterns in APAC countries, such as China, India, Japan, and South Korea, particularly the preference for ready-to-eat food over homemade food, is pushing the demand for sorbic acid in this region.
The sorbic acid market, which is led by Chinese companies, is highly consolidated in nature. Some of the major players operating in the global sorbic acid market are Jinneng Science and Technology Company Ltd., Shandong Hongda Biotechnology Co. Ltd., RuGao ChangJiang Food Co. Ltd., APAC Chemical Corporation, Advanced Inorganics, Anmol Chemicals Group, Celanese Corporation, Nantong Acetic Acid Chemical Co. Ltd., Wanglong Tech Co. Ltd., and Daicel Corporation.