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US specialty surfactants demand driven by personal care markets.

Demand for specialty surfactants in the United States is forecast to advance 4.3 percent per year to 2.1 billion pounds in the year 2006, valued at $3.6 billion. Gains will be driven by a number of factors, including increasing demand for naturally derived, environmentally benign and multifunctional surfactants; greater mildness requirements for surfactants used in personal care products; and rapidly growing demand in both cleaning products and personal care products for surfactant treated wipes. These and other trends are presented in Specialty Surfactants, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.

The specialties surfactants sector is dominated by a relatively small number of companies, producing higher value surfactants in smaller volumes. Many specialties are derived from natural sources, such as vegetable oils. This gives specialty products a more favorable environmental profile than commodity surfactants, and also tends to yield surfactants which are much milder than competing commodities. While demand for commodities is more or less equally distributed between consumer products and industrial uses, demand for specialty surfactants is heavily weighted toward the former. This is because the attributes which make specialty surfactants so highly desired in consumer products (enhanced mildness and biodegradability) are of less importance in most industrial markets, where the lower cost of commodity products becomes the deciding factor.

Demand for specialty surfactants is dominated by cationic surfactants, such as fatty amine oxides, ammonium quaternaries and imidazolines. This family of specialties accounted for nearly half of total demand in the year 2001. However, the greatest growth will be registered by amphoteric surfactants such as betaines, propionates and amphoglycinates. The latter are increasingly desired in a wide variety of personal care products for their mildness, surfactant ability and biodegradability.

Because demand for specialty surfactants is so heavily dependent on the personal care products industry, trends in this volatile market have a significant effect on overall consumption. For example, in the early to mid 1990s, demand for conventional bar soaps suffered greatly, as a wide variety of liquid and gel "body washes" were introduced, to great success. This benefitted specialty surfactants, which are used in greater quantities in such products than in bar soaps. While demand for body washes has leveled off, another product niche--personal care wipes--has burst upon the scene.

Specialty Surfactants (published 08/2002, 211 pages)is available for $3,800 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326. For further details, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600, fax 440.646.0484 or e-mail Information may also be obtained through

A limited license to use or reprint information from this news release is granted to you provided attribution for same--including, if possible, the price of the report--is given to The Freedonia Group, Inc. (Cleveland, OH). We would also appreciate the courtesy of receiving a copy of the article or publication in which we appear.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Subscription: $00.00 per year as of 1/94. Published irregularly. Contact Freedonia Group, 3570 Warrensville Cente
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Comment:US specialty surfactants demand driven by personal care markets.
Publication:Research Studies - Freedonia Group
Article Type:Industry Overview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 16, 2002
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