The bleaching clay market size is forecast to reach US$1.7 billion in 2027 after growing at a CAGR of 5.4% during 2022-2027. The increasing consumption of vegetable oils and increasing use of biofuel as a sustainable energy resource are some of the key factors expected to drive the market’s growth in the forecast period. Bentonite is anticipated to contribute to the growth of the bleaching clay market as it is widely used in activated clay manufacturing. Bentonite consists of montmorillonite which comes with properties like robust adsorption. Other raw materials like attapulgite and sepiolite will witness significant demand in the target market. Activated clay is poised to drive the market’s growth owing to its high demand for refining edible oils. The refining of edible oil is projected to contribute to the market’s growth in the forecast period owing to its higher consumption. The refining of mineral oil is expected to drive the market’s growth significantly in the forecast period due to its increasing applications in the production of thermic fluid, various lubricants, food preparation, etc. However, the strict guidelines regarding oil production and refinement might hinder the market’s growth in the forecast period.
The bleaching clay market was badly affected by COVID-19 due to various disturbances in the bleaching clay ecosystem. Disruption in the supply chain, work stoppages, cancelation of planned projected are some of the main reasons that disturbed the target market. Work stoppages due to factory shutdown hampered the personal care and cosmetics market which is one of the major application areas of bleaching clays. The global beauty products industry got hit by the pandemic during the lockdown which restricted the incorporation of bleaching clays, ultimately slowing down the growth of the bleaching clay market. According to Unilever’s 2020 Full Year Results report, the beauty and personal care product usage was reduced as people stayed at home. The company faced a decrease in sales of beauty products in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, the sales of edible oils have kept the bleaching clay market afloat. Going forward, the target market is projected to deliver robust growth owing to the increasing consumption of vegetable oils.
Bleaching Clay Market – By Raw Material
Bentonite dominated the bleaching clay market’s raw material segment in 2021. Bentonite is commonly used in bleaching clay, especially activated bleaching clay for refining vegetable oils, mineral oils, animal fats, etc. Apart from refining, Bentonite is also used for decolor edible and non-edible oils. Bentonite consists of a clay mineral called montmorillonite which possesses excellent adsorption quality. Owing to the excellent properties of bentonite manufacturers are preferring higher uses of bentonite which ultimately leads to increased production of bentonite globally. For instance, according to the 2020 annual publication report about clays statistics and information by United States Geological Survey (USGS), bentonite produced (sold or used) in the US stood at 4700 metric tons in 2019 which was an improvement compared to bentonite statistics in the previous years. This growing production and use of bentonite will contribute to the bleaching clay market’s growth in the forecast period. Other raw materials like attapulgite and sepiolite will contribute significantly to the market’s growth in the forecast period.
Bleaching Clay Market – By Product Type
Activated clay dominated the bleaching clay market in 2021 and this dominance is projected to continue in the forecast period with a CAGR of 5.3% owing to its massive uses in the refining of vegetable oils and mineral oils. It has been one of the most widely used bleaching clay types in the refining process as it effectively removes impurities and improves oil flavor. Massive research and development are taking place with the implementation of activated clay to enhance the refining processes. For instance, according to the March 2021 journal titled “Establishment of an Effective Refining Process for Moringa oleifera Kernel Oil” by Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), refining with acid-activated bleaching clay effectively produced edible MO kernel oil. Activated bleaching clay is also used as they exhibit higher adsorption capacity. Such development with the involvement of activated clay in various refining processes will drive the bleaching clay market’s growth in the forecast period. Natural clay is projected to witness decent demand in the bleaching clay market during the forecast period.
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Bleaching Clay Market – By Application
Refining edible oil dominated the bleaching clay market in 2021 and is growing at a CAGR of 5.6% in the forecast period. This application segment is expected to drive the bleaching clay market’s growth in the forecast period owing to the massive consumption of edible oils globally. Vegetable oils like soybean, rapeseed, palm, etc., contain impurities when extracted and that needs to be removed to get a high-quality product. Raw materials like bentonite which consists of montmorillonite get a good scope for getting used in these oil refining processes. Furthermore, the increasing awareness for the vegan diet among people and the growing consumption of processed food is also driving the demand for vegetable oils in the last few years. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the US held the market for the highest consumption of soybean oil globally in 2020. Such high demand for edible oil increases higher utilization of bleaching clay in the refining process, ultimately driving the growth of the bleaching clay market in the forecast period. Furthermore, the increasing demand for the refining of mineral oils is also expected to contribute significantly to the market’s growth in the forecast period. This demand is attributed to the increasing applications of mineral oils in the production and processing of lubricants, thermic fluid, food preparation, etc.
Bleaching Clay Market – By Geography
The Asia-Pacific region dominated the bleaching clay market in 2021 with a market share of up to 31%. This region is anticipated to witness massive usage of bleaching clay in the forecast period due to the rising consumption of edible oil in the region, especially in emerging economies like China and India. This increasing consumption of vegetable oil is attributed to the changing lifestyle, increasing awareness about a healthy diet, and increasing population in this region. According to the September 2021 oilseeds report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), vegetable oils production in China stood at 49.44 million metric tons (2020/21) which were earlier 48.32 million metric tons (2019/20). Similarly, according to November 2020 data by India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the packaged olive oil segment which amounts to US$ 63.29 million witnessed a rapid demand in 2020. The olive oil consumption jumped 49 percent in 2019 in comparison to previous years. Such massive demand for edible oil in this region will demand higher uses of bleaching clay for the refining process, ultimately driving the growth of the bleaching clay market in the forecast period. Mineral oils which are used in numerous applications such as the production of thermic fluid, various lubricants, food preparation, etc., will witness significant demand in the region which will drive the target market’s growth. The region in North America is also poised to boost the use of bleaching clay significantly in the forecast period owing to increasing demand for ready-to-eat meals and high import and exports of edible oils.
Bleaching Clay Market Drivers
Increasing demand for mineral oils in the cosmetic sector will drive the market’s growth
Mineral oils are widely used in the manufacturing of beauty and personal care products which requires high usage of bleaching clay for refining mineral oil. The demand for cosmetics is on the rise post COVID-19 market opening and, in turn, this increases the demand for the bleaching clay market. For instance, according to the 2020-21 integrated annual report by Hindustan Unilever Limited, the beauty, and personal care division witnessed a growth of 4% due to strong double-digit growth in oral care, hair care, and skin cleansing. The company is also expanding its beauty services through consultation with experts. In the coming years, it aims to develop more advanced products in the beauty and personal care segment. This high growth in cosmetic products will demand higher usage of bleaching clay for refining the mineral oils, ultimately driving the target market’s growth in the forecast period.
Increasing demand for edible oil will drive the market’s growth
The demand for edible oil is rising globally due to the high demand from the food industry. Edible oils are used in various foods preparation like processed food, margarine formulation, ice cream, non-dairy creamers, etc. In addition to this, the increasing awareness related to a healthy diet among consumers is also propelling the market’s growth. People globally are opting for a vegan diet as the pandemic showed the importance of consuming fresh vegetables. Owing to these reasons, there has been a rise in the consumption of edible oils across the globe. According to May 2021 data by Invest India, the edible oil segment registered a growth at a CAGR of 17% between 2014 to 2019. The edible oil sector is also projected to reach INR 2.7 trillion (US$ 3.5 trillion) by 2024. Such massive growth and demand in the edible oil segment will require a large quantity of bleaching clay for refining purposes, which will ultimately drive the bleaching clay market’s growth in the forecast period.
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Bleaching Clay Market Challenges
Strict environmental guidelines regarding vegetable oil production and refining might hamper the market’s growth
The vegetable oil production process contains contaminants, a large amount of solid waste, and by-products. Some portion of the solid waste contains spent acids from the chemical processing of palm oil, deodorizer distillate from the steam distillation of processed edible oils, spent bleaching earth containing gums, and metals. Accordingly, strict regulations have been imposed by governing bodies to keep environmental pollution and its toxicity issues in check. For instance, the Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) guidelines are applied to facilities that extract and refine oils from multiple grains, nuts, and seeds. Vegetable oils made of castor, soybean, mustard, canola, palm, olive, palm kernel, sunflower, rapeseed, sesame, cottonseed, among others, are covered by the EHS guidelines. Several environmental issues are associated with edible oil processing for which EHS guidelines are being incorporated, which, in turn, might hinder the growth of the bleaching clay market in the forecast period.
Bleaching Clay Market Industry Outlook
Investment in R&D activities, acquisitions, product and technology launches are key strategies adopted by players in the bleaching clay market. Major players in the bleaching clay market are:
Oil Dri Corporation of America
Refoil Earth Pvt. Ltd.
Musim Mas Holdings
AMC (UK) Ltd.
EP Engineered Clays
Taiko Group of Companies and Others
In August 2021, Clariant acquired Beraca, a Brazilian Personal Care Specialties company that deals with cosmetic grade, non-refined and refined oils. This acquisition will help Clariant to expand its Care Chemicals business which involves personal care products. This way, more refined oils will be used in the manufacturing of beauty products that will require higher bleaching earth (clay), ultimately contributing to the target market’s growth.
Bentonite is dominating the bleaching clay market globally. It is widely used in activated clay owing to its superior deacidifying, discoloring, and effective removal of impurities from oils. The May 2020 journal titled “Low-Cost Investment with High Quality Performance” by Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) confirms that bentonite bleaching clay is primarily used for refining vegetable oils owing to its excellent properties.
Activated clay’s demand is anticipated to grow in the bleaching clay market in the forecast period. This clay is widely used in the refining of vegetable oils, mineral oils, industrial oils, etc. According to the June 2021 journal titled “The Effect of Bentonite Concentration and Contact Time” by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that activated bleaching clay is the most common adsorbent process for the bleaching of vegetable oil which is an important step in the process of oil refining.
The Asia Pacific region is dominating the bleaching clay market and the dominance is expected to be there in the forecast period owing to the increasing consumption of vegetable oil in the region. According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), the per capita edible vegetable oil consumption in China has jumped to 9.8 kg in 2019 which was 7.7 kg in 1996.
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