Lauric acid is a saturated fatty acid naturally occur in many vegetable fats such as coconut and palm kernel oils. It is a white, powdery solid with a faint odor of bay oil or soap. Dodecanoic acid is the systematic name of lauric acid. Lauric acid constitutes a 12-carbon atom chain and thus it is categorized into the medium chain fatty acids. Lauric acid is comparatively inexpensive likewise other fatty acids and remains potent for a longer time which results in a prolonged shelf life.
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Lauric acids finds major application in soaps & detergents and personal care industry. It gets neutralized with sodium hydroxide to give sodium laurate (a popular soap type). On industrial scale, soap manufacturers usually carry out saponification directly from coconut oil rather than procuring lauric acid. Lauric acid is also an important constituent of skin care and hair care products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) has also listed lauric acid as “Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS)” for cosmetic applications. The most popular choice of lauric acid in personal care products (including skin care and hair care) include facial cleansers, body washes, shower gels, and shampoos. Lauric acid mixes well with water, and thus forms a homogenous solution. Lauric acid is also used in conjunction with surfactants in a personal care product formulation to increase its efficacy. Lauric acid has also wide application as chemical intermediate and precursor in plastic, lubricants, pharmaceuticals etc. The usage of lauric acid can also be observed in the animal feed industry where it is used as a feed additive to improve the gut and gastrointestinal health.
Increasing consumerism has spurred the demand for personal care products in recent past and is anticipated to remain a major driving factor for the lauric acid market in the coming year. Moreover, growing awareness about animals (both pet and livestock grown for meat) health has reflected an increase in demand for animal feed additives, most preferably natural derived. Stringent government regulations and intervention in the approval process is one of the major challenges in the market. As, lauric acid is directly used in the formulation of personal care products and animal feed, the manufacturers of these products have to undergo a strict approval before selling them to customers. Innovation in product with respect to formulation provides immense growth opportunity in the market.
Asia Pacific is expected to be the largest consumer of lauric acid primarily due to high demand for soaps and detergents as a result high population concentration. It is also anticipated to be the fastest growing market in the next few years. Economies such as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other South East Asian countries has witnessed high consumption of lauric acid for soaps & detergents and personal care applications. Additionally, the countries in the regions South America and the Middle East & Africa are showing swift economic growth and thus demand for lauric acid is projected to rise in the near future. North America is matured market in terms of demand for lauric acid; however increasing consumer awareness regarding health and well-being is expected to increase demand for lauric acid in pharmaceutical and personal care application. The steady demand for lauric acid in animal feed, personal care, and soaps & detergents application is expected to be driving factor for the Europe lauric acid market.
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Some key players in the lauric acid market include VVF LLC, Acme-Hardesty, Sensnutrition, Acme Chem, Parchem fine & specialty chemicals, Timur OleoChemicals, Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients Limited.