Published December 2021
Benzoate plasticizers are the second-most important end use for benzoic acids. They are mainly used as highsolvating plasticizers in plasticizer blends for PVC resins. Their use has seen some growth in Europe and North America in the past, where regulatory issues have forced the replacement of low-molecular-weight phthalate plasticizers in PVC resins.
Other major applications include alkyd resins, benzoyl chloride, and animal feed
The following pie chart shows world consumption of benzoic acid:
Mainland China, Western Europe, and North America account for the majority of world consumption of benzoic acid in 2021. Sodium and potassium benzoate accounted for most consumption in Asia (where mainland China is the largest world producer and consumer), Europe, and Central and South America.
Global growth prospects for benzoic acid are moderate. Future growth in demand will be driven mostly by the increasing production of sodium and potassium benzoate salts in mainland China and eventually in Europe. The main factors behind this growth are the following:
- Increasing urbanization and 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
- Desire for convenience (increased popularity of processed foods and ready-to-drink beverages)
Demand for benzoate plasticizers has also shown sustained growth, especially in Europe and North America, where regulatory issues and environmental legislation have driven the need to replace low-molecular-weight phthalate plasticizers in PVC resins. In particular, benzoate plasticizers have replaced low-molecular-weight phthalates, such as DEP and DBP.
The third major use of benzoic acid is in the production of alkyd resins, where it can be used both as a building block and as a chain stopper during polymerization. This application, however, is gradually losing its importance in Europe and North America because of environmental regulations concerning VOC emissions. Since the early 2000s, alkyd surface coatings have been replaced with acrylic latexes and, to a lesser degree, with epoxies, urethanes, polyesters, and vinyls in many coating applications. Nonetheless, alkyd resin is still the third most important application in mainland China, and is also the most important end market for benzoic acid in the CIS countries, the Middle East (particularly in Turkey), and South America. Consumption of benzoyl chloride occurs primarily in mainland China, whereas its use as animal feed is concentrated in Europe.
For more detailed information, see the table of contents, shown below.
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