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Polylactic Acid Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Application (Packaging, Textiles, Consumer Goods, Agriculture & Horticulture, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2024-2032

Last Updated: July 01, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI103429

 

KEY MARKET INSIGHTS

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The global polylactic acid (PLA) market size was USD 1,072.3 million in 2023 and is projected to grow from USD 1,248.6 million in 2024 to USD 4,220.0 million in 2032, exhibiting a CAGR of 16.3% during the forecast period. Europe dominated the polylactic acid market with a market share of .04% in 2023.


Polylactic acid (PLA) material is different from the commonly available form of thermoplastic polymer materials. It is primarily derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane. PLA is relatively cheap with several beneficial mechanical properties compared to other biodegradable polymers, which has made it a popular material. As of 2019, the production capacity of PLA was approximately 290 thousand tons. PLA is relatively cheap with several beneficial mechanical properties compared to other biodegradable polymers, which has made it a popular material. As of 2019, the production capacity of PLA was approximately 290 thousand tons. PLA production heavily relies on plant feedstocks such as cassava, potato, corn, and sugar cane.


Other types of feedstock such as agricultural by-products, cellulosic materials, or greenhouse gases (i.e., carbon dioxide and methane) have been studied and explored. However, the technique is still under development, and agricultural products look likely to stay in the foreseeable future as the primary feedstock for starch blends and PLA.


The impact of COVID-19 severely disrupted the polylactic market. Various initiatives have been undertaken to deal with the pandemic such as lockdown measures, the suspension of trading practices, and the closure of multiple factories and workplaces worldwide. However, they had a range of economic consequences. Therefore, the governments in several countries began initiating regulations to get their economies back on track, which is anticipated to help increase product consumption during the forecast period.


Polylactic Acid Market Trends


Decline in Usage of the Fossil Fuels to Drive Demand


Polylactic acid has the potential advantage of reducing reliance on fossil-based emissions. There is a need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and move towards green carbon to progress towards a circular economy. PLAs provide an environmental advantage over their carbon-based counterparts such as decreased CO2 footprint, reduced fossil resource reliance, and increased use of renewable resources during the manufacturing process.


For instance, 0.5 kg CO2 eq/kg is the global warming potential (GWP) of PLA. In contrast with other typical fossil-based polymers such as PS, PET, PP, and PE, this is a ~75 percent drop in carbon footprint.


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Polylactic Acid Market Growth Factors


Increasing Demand from Packaging Industry to Drive the Market


For polylactic acid, the packaging is the main application. In 2019, packaging accounted for 59% of biodegradable plastics produced, according to the European Bioplastics. A fraction (0.5 percent) of the overall plastic packaging produced in biodegradable packaging. Almost 500,000 tons of biodegradable plastics are used in flexible packaging. In the consumer packaged goods, supermarkets, and foodservice markets, major multinationals have either made strides or announced plans to ramp up the use of biodegradable plastic significantly. This further drives the need for PLA packaging for fresh fruit, food cutlery, and compostable bags.


In addition, Polylactic acid (PLA) is experiencing a surge in demand within the packaging industry due to its eco-friendly properties. Derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane, PLA offers biodegradability and compostability, making it an attractive alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. With increasing consumer awareness and regulatory pressures to reduce plastic waste, businesses are turning to PLA for sustainable packaging solutions. Its versatility allows for various applications, including food packaging, disposable cutlery, and bottles. Moreover, advancements in PLA production technologies have improved its performance characteristics, such as heat resistance and barrier properties, further expanding its usage in the packaging industry. 


Greenpeace East Asia Magazine in its December 2020 edition mentioned that 164,000 tonnes of biodegradable food & beverage packaging and foodstuffs were processed in 2017. By 2022, this figure is projected to grow by about 10 percent.


PLA bioplastics offer several features that help reduce plastic use while enhancing the use of green plastics. PLA has excellent barrier properties making it very suitable for fresh fruits and vegetable packaging. Moreover, it has high stiffness and strength, which allows for a thin wall part design.


Green packaging provides various benefits such as reduced reliability on fossils fuels, lower utilization of natural resources, increased use of recyclable products, more energy-efficient manufacturing methods, and renewable sources. Recent trends and technological solutions are available in sustainable packaging that includes edible packaging, shrinking carbon footprint, and waste reduction. Furthermore, it is economically appealing to both manufacturers and consumers. Thus, the growing demand for sustainable packaging is anticipated to fuel the demand for the polylactic acid market during the forecast period.


RESTRAINING FACTORS


Concerns over Cost & Agricultural Feedstock to Hamper Market Growth


Compared to traditional plastics, the cost of processing polylactic acid is high. With the falling price of fuel oil, synthetic plastics have become cheaper, leading to a bigger price gap. Several technological hurdles exist to manufacture cheaper biodegradable plastics. Approximately one-third of biodegradable plastics are derived from petrochemicals, and the industry is moving towards feedstock that is bio-based.


The current bio-based feedstock is primarily agricultural products such as maize, cassava, and potato. Using agricultural goods, specifically food crops, on a broad industrial scale could potentially lead to problems such as whether industrial usage competes with the region's food supply.


Polylactic Acid Market Segmentation Analysis


By Application Analysis


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Packaging Segment to Lead Market


Based on the application, the market is segmented into packaging, textiles, consumer goods, agriculture & horticulture, and others.


Polylactic acid is widely used in the packaging industry. Companies have raised their appetite for food packaging and single-use plastic and have found biodegradable substitutes for food packaging and single-use cutlery. Moreover, a move to biodegradable packaging has also been promoted by many e-commerce giants, driving the biodegradable market for online merchandise and food distribution. In China alone, more than 700,000 tons would be added to the demand for biodegradable plastics if online industries met the policy requirement by switching 50 percent of their online delivery packaging and 20 percent of food delivery packaging to biodegradable products.


Furthermore, by 2025, the January 2020 policy prohibits the use of non-degradable plastics in online delivery. Unless businesses develop ambitious plastic reduction plans and switch from conventional plastics to biodegradable plastics, China's online distribution industry will produce an estimated 5,000 tons of biodegradable plastic waste annually by 2025.


REGIONAL INSIGHTS


Europe Polylactic Acid Market Size, 2023 (USD Million)

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The Europe market size stood at USD 429.8 million in 2023. The region is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period. This is attributable to the stringent government policies on using plastic, increasing R&D supporting the use and development of bioplastic, and consumer spending. Also, the growing agricultural industry is likely to drive the market. The increasing demand for natural ingredients and organic food in the region is supporting the market growth.


The growing demand for exotic fruits and vegetables has been a major factor driving the market in Europe. Germany is the most consuming country of polylactic acid in the region due to high economic growth and the luxurious lifestyle of consumers preferring fine quality food products. This is expected to boost the demand for good quality packaging applications.


The increasing demand for ready-to-eat food and packaged food offering convenience and nutritional value, along with the change in consumer lifestyle, shall drive the market in North America. In the U.S., consumers are inclined to consume organic food due to the growing focus on leading a healthy lifestyle.


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In terms of country, China is the key market in Asia Pacific owing to the increasing food demand from the growing population. This demand is being fulfilled by convenience food easily available at a cheaper cost. China is the major producer of packaging materials worldwide, which increases the production and consumption of food packaging in the country.


It is predicted that Latin America will show substantial growth by the end of the forecast period. The growth is supported by a rise in the per capita intake of food & beverage packaging in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and the Caribbean region.


Demand for green packaging in the Middle East & Africa is growing because of the rise in demand for canned goods due to the simplicity of use and longer shelf life. Besides, demand for packaging products will be increased by local brands which supply different types of canned products.


List of Key Companies in Polylactic Acid Market


Strategic Planning Adopted by Companies to Strengthen their Market Positions


The market is fragmented owing to the presence of several key players at a global and regional level. Some major players are putting perpetual efforts to offer quality and advanced products by adopting novel technologies in manufacturing. In addition to this, several key players are adopting strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, developing and modifying infrastructure, expanding their manufacturing facilities across cities, and investing in R&D facilities. These companies are also looking for opportunities to integrate vertically across the value chain.


For example, NatureWorks LLC manufactures its Ingeo PLA bioplastics from dextrose, a sugar extracted from maize starch cultivated for many industrial and practical applications.


LIST OF KEY COMPANIES PROFILED:



  • NatureWorks (Minnetonka, Minnesota, United States)

  • Total Corbion PLA (Gorinchem, Netherlands)

  • BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany)

  • Sulzer (Winterthur, Switzerland)

  • COFCO Biochemical

  • FUTERRO S.A.

  • Zhejiang Hisun Biomaterials Co., Ltd

  • Nantong Jiuding Biological Engineering

  • Chongqing Bofei Biochemical Products, Ltd.

  • UNITIKA LTD.


KEY INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS:



  • April 2023 NatureWorks LLC and Jabil Inc. collaborated to provide a novel powder based on Ingeo PLA that can be used for selective laser sintering 3D printing platforms. This is a cost-effective option, compared to the incumbent PA-12.

  • October 2019 – Evonik announced the launch of the world’s first bioresorbable portfolio of polylactide-polyethylene glycol (PLA-PEG) copolymers for use in implantable medical device applications.

  • November 2020 – Total Corbion PLA released its whitepaper outlining its position on the preferred end-of-life options for PLA bioplastics. The whitepaper further explains the significance of PLA products and applications that can contribute to the circular economy.


REPORT COVERAGE


An Infographic Representation of Polylactic Acid (PLA) Market

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The global polylactic acid market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, products, and applications. The market includes insights into market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years. It includes historical data & forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels, and analyzes the industry's latest market dynamics and opportunities.


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Report Scope & Segmentation













































ATTRIBUTE



DETAILS



Study Period



2019-2032



Base Year



2023



Estimated Year



2024



Forecast Period



2024-2032



Historical Period



2019-2022



Unit



Value (USD Million) and Volume (Tons)



Growth Rate



16.3% CAGR from 2024 to 2032



Segmentation



By Application



  • Packaging

  • Textiles

  • Consumer Goods

  • Agriculture & Horticulture

  • Others



By Geography



  • North America

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • U.S. (By Application)

      • Canada (By Application)





  • Europe

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Germany (By Application)

      • UK (By Application)

      • France (By Application)

      • Italy (By Application)

      • Rest of Europe (By Application)





  • Asia Pacific

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • China (By Application)

      • Japan (By Application)

      • India (By Application)

      • ASEAN (By Application)

      • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Application)





  • Latin America

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Brazil (By Application)

      • Mexico (By Application)

      • Rest of Latin America (By Application)





  • The Middle East & Africa

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • GCC (By Application)

      • South Africa (By Application)

      • Rest of Middle East & Africa (By Application)










Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 1,072.3 million in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 4,220.0 million by 2032.

In 2023, Europe stood at USD 429.8 million.

Registering a CAGR of 16.3%, the market will exhibit steady growth over the forecast period (2024-2032).

The packaging segment is expected to lead this market in 2023.

The rising demand for packaging is a key factor driving market growth.

NatureWorks, Total Corbion PLA, BASF SE, and Sulzer are the global market players.

Europe dominated in terms of market share in 2023.

The rising demand for bioplastic is expected to drive the adoption of the product.

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