Published December 2016
Preservation of animal feed, grain, and food (calcium and sodium propionates) accounts for almost 80% of world propionic acid consumption in 2016, up from 78.5% in 2012. About 51% of global propionic acid consumption is for use in animal feed and grain preservation, while nearly 29% is used in the production of calcium and sodium propionates, both of which are used in the food and feed industry. Other significant markets are herbicides and diethyl ketone. Smaller-volume applications include cellulose acetate propionate, pharmaceuticals, solvent esters, flavors and fragrances, plasticizers, dyes, and textile, leather, and rubber auxiliaries. Demand for propionic acid is largely dependent on production of animal feed and grain, followed by packaged food and bakery products. World growth prospects for propionic acid and its salts in animal feed/grain preservation and food are significant.
Other fast-growing markets include propionate esters for solvents, such as n-butyl and pentyl propionate; these esters are increasingly being used as replacements for solvents listed as hazardous air pollutants.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of propionic acid:
Western Europe accounts for about 40% of the world consumption of propionic acid in 2016, followed by North America with about 30% and Asia with about 23%; large-volume consumption in animal feed/grain preservation and calcium/sodium propionates occurs in these regions. Use of calcium and sodium propionates in animal feed, as well as food additives, is growing, especially in Asia, thanks to improving living standards and higher meat consumption. Western Europe and North America are the major world producers and exporters of calcium and sodium propionates. A significant amount of calcium/sodium propionates manufactured in Western Europe and North America is exported to Asia, South America, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. This is the main factor driving consumption growth in Western Europe and North America. Calcium and sodium propionates are preferred over propionic acid in food and feed applications because they are less corrosive and easier to handle. Consumption growth during 2016–21 will be highest in the developing markets of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America.
The global market for propionic acid is expected to continue to grow at nearly 3% per year, driven by demand from the animal feed and grain preservative sectors, as well as from the manufacture of propionate salts for the food industry. The increasing consumption of meat and processed food in Asia, notably China and India, as well as in the Middle East and Africa, will support this growth. As the market is amply supplied, no major capacity additions are expected during the forecast period.