L-lactide Market – Snapshot

L-lactide (levo-rotatory lactide) is the optically active di-ester of lactic acid. It is produced as an intermediate in the formation of polylactic acid or PLA. L-lactide is an odorless solid that is usually available in the free-flowing powder form. Generally, L-lactide is produced through ring polymerization reaction. It is biodegradable and can be used as a precursor for the formation of polystyrene-like polymers. L-lactide is highly used in food & beverage packaging. The major applications of L-lactide in this sector include plastic cups and food containers. In the medical sector, L-lactide is employed in implants such as anchors, screws, plates, pins, rods, and meshes. The property of biodegradability makes L-lactide a preferred choice for these applications. The material is used in both flexible and rigid packaging. PLA formed through L-lactide can be used as a feedstock material in desktop-fused filament fabrication 3D printers.

Consumer awareness about the risks of plastic consumption significantly influences the global L-lactide market. Conventional plastics, in addition to the basic polymers, also contain additional chemical components known as additives, which are added in small amounts to alter the properties of the polymers in the desired way. Concerns over the safety of plastics use in food packaging materials arise primarily from the possible toxicity of other low molecular weight constituents that may be present in the package and hence may be leached into food during storage. Various governments across the globe are taking initiatives to ban the consumption of plastics. In mild concentrations, plastics do not cause many problems. However, increased usage of plastics and the difficulty associated with their recycling demand new alternative and biodegradable plastics, and bioplastics fall under this category. Biodegradable plastics such as PLA, which is made using L-lactide, have superior barrier properties and find applications in various end-user industries such as food & beverage packaging, electrical & electronics, medical & health care, textiles, etc.

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Based on end-user industry, the L-lactide market has been classified into food & beverage packaging, electrical & electronics, medical & health care, and others (agriculture and textiles). In food & beverage packaging, L-lactide can be used as a packaging film for food containers, bags and cups, and disposable serviceware and utensils; lamination or coating for paper/paperboard and foam products for trays; and in other packaging materials and films for food wrapping. Applications of the material in 3D printing or rapid prototyping are likely to enhance the demand for L-lactide in the electronics sector. In the medical sector, L-lactide finds applications in medical implants, tissue engineering, orthopedic devices, drug delivery systems, etc. The others segment includes end-user industries such as textiles and agriculture. In the textile industry, L-lactide is used in casual clothing, protective gear, work wear, etc. In the agricultural sector, L-lactide finds applications in soil retention sheeting, agricultural films, and waste bags.

Increased consumer preference for biodegradable materials and rise in environmental concerns are anticipated to drive the global L-lactide market in the coming years. Conventional plastics rely on fossil fuels, and the use of bio-plastics reduces the dependency on fossil fuels that arises with the production of conventional plastics. Rise in demand for L-lactides in bio-medical applications such as orthopedics, drug carriers, facial fracture repair, tissue engineering, anti-microbial agents, anti-tumor, and uteral stents is also anticipated to fuel the expansion of the L-lactide market.

Rapid increase in technological advancements in the medical sector is likely to boost demand for L-lactide across the globe. Asia Pacific is a key region for the expansion of the L-lactide market, owing to the presence of key manufacturers of polylactic acid in countries such as Japan and China. Stringent regulations on plastics consumption in western countries are likely to enhance demand for L-lactide during the forecast period. Increased consumer preference for biodegradable materials and rise in environmental concerns are anticipated to drive the L-lactide market in North America. The Farm Bill introduced by the U.S. government mandates the bio-preferred program, which is intended to encourage innovation and improve the commercialization of bio-based products. Concerns over the safety of plastics as food packaging materials have boosted demand for L-lactides in the region. The zero waste policy adopted in Europe is likely to have a significant positive influence on the L-lactide market in the region. Key countries and regions of the L-lactide market in Asia Pacific include China and Japan.

The L-lactide market is dominated by a few multinational players. This leads to intense competition. Generally, manufacturers of polylactic acid are engaged in the production of L-lactides. Manufacturers such as Corbion, Futerro, Polysciences, Inc, Nature Works LLC, and Synbra Technology are leading players operating in the market. Capacity expansion and acquisitions are some strategies adopted by these companies to retain their market position. Manufacturers introduce hybrid biopolymers for improving the performance of biomaterials. They strive to commercialize L-lactide in a cost-effective way with the incorporation of advanced technologies and R&D activities.

L-lactide Market - Overview

L-lactide is produced as an intermediate in the formation of polylactic acid or PLA. It finds applications in various end-user industries such as food & beverage packaging, electrical & electronics, medical & health care, agriculture, and textiles. Ring polymerization is the common method of production of L-lactide. Rise in applications of bioplastics in the food & beverage packaging as well as medical and health care sectors is anticipated to boost demand for L-lactides in these applications. Consumption of conventional plastics and awareness among consumers regarding the health risks associated with plastics are propelling the L-lactide market.

In terms of end-user industry, the global L-lactide market has been classified into food & beverage packaging, electrical & electronics, medical & health care, and others, including agriculture and textiles. The food & beverage packaging segment accounts for a high market share owing to increased applications of L-lactide in food containers, bags and cups, and disposable serviceware and utensils; lamination or coating for paper/paperboard and foam products for trays; and in other packaging materials and films for food wrapping.

The electrical and electronics segment is anticipated to offer attractive growth opportunities to the L-lactide market due to increasing applications of L-lactide in 3D printing and rapid prototyping. Rise in applications of L-lactide in the medical and health care sector is fuelling demand for it. L-lactide finds applications in medical implants, tissue engineering, orthopedic devices, drug delivery systems, etc.. The agricultural segment of the L-lactide market is likely to offer attractive growth opportunities. Manufacturing of soil retention sheeting, agricultural films, and waste bags are some of the applications of L-lactide in this sector. Consumer preference for eco-friendly, non-toxic products drives the global L-lactide market. Use of biomaterials such as L-lactide reduces dependence on fossil fuels.

The federal government aims to drive demand for bio-based products through procurement programs. The U.S government has introduced the ‘Farm Bill,’ which is intended to encourage innovation and improve the commercialization of bio-based products. Concerns over the safety of plastics as food packaging materials have boosted demand for L-lactides in the region. The zero waste policy adopted in Europe is likely to have a significant positive influence on the L-lactide market in the region. Key countries and regions of the L-lactide market in Asia Pacific include China and Japan.

L-lactide is expected to offer promising applications in the medical & health care sector. Advancements in nanotechnology and material science are likely to propel the L-lactide market in the coming years. Technological advancements in emerging economies are likely to provide better growth opportunities to the global L-lactide market. In Asia Pacific, Japan and China are the major countries contributing significantly to the expansion of the L-lactide market. Existence of bioplastic recycling technology in developed regions provides better expansion opportunities to the L-lactide market.

The report analyzes and forecasts the market for L-lactide at the global and regional levels. The market has been projected in terms of volume (tons) and revenue (US$ Mn) from 2017 to 2026. The study includes drivers and restraints for the global L-lactide market. It also covers the impact of these drivers and restraints on the demand for L-lactide during the forecast period. The report also highlights opportunities for growth of the L-lactide market at the global and regional levels.

The report comprises a detailed value chain analysis, which provides a comprehensive view of the global L-lactide market. Porter’s five forces model for the L-lactide market has also been included to help understand the competition landscape of the market. The study encompasses market attractiveness analysis, wherein end-user industry segments have been benchmarked based on their market size, growth rate, and general attractiveness.

The study provides a decisive view of the global L-lactide market by segmenting it in terms of end-user industry and region. These end-user industry and regional segments have been analyzed based on the present and future trends. Regional segmentation includes the current and forecast demand for L-lactide in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The report also covers individual end-user industry segments of the market in all regions.

The study includes profiles of major companies operating in the global L-lactide market. Key players profiled in the report include NatureWorks LLC, Corbion, Polysciences, Inc, and Futerro. These players account for a major share of the total production of inorganic pigments. Moreover, they are forward integrated. Brand promotions and launches of new products are likely to raise sales of L-lactide in the next few years. Market leaders look for different measures, such as strategic pricing and product improvement, to increase their profit margin.

The report provides the estimated market size of the global L-lactide market for 2017 and forecast for the next nine years. The size of the global L-lactide market has been provided in terms of revenue. Market numbers have been estimated based on end-user industry and regional segments. Market size and forecast for each end-user industry segment have been provided for global as well as regional markets.

Global L-lactide Market, by End-user Industry

  • Food & Beverage Packaging
  • Electrical & Electronics
  • Medical & Health Care
  • Others (Including Agriculture, Textiles, etc.)

Global L-lactide Market, by Region

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Rest of Latin America
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • France
    • U.K.
    • Italy
    • Spain
    • Russia & CIS
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • Japan
    • India
    • ASEAN
    • Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa
    • South Africa
    • GCC
    • Rest of Middle East & Africa

Key Takeaways

  • The report provides extensive analysis of market trends from 2017 to 2026 in order to identify opportunities and market developments
  • It provides a comparative analysis of various end-user industries in which L-lactide is used
  • It offers analysis of the L-lactide production processes
  • It identifies key factors to build a roadmap for upcoming growth opportunities for the L-lactide market at the global, regional, and country levels
  • The report provides a detailed competition landscape of key players operating in the market in order to understand the competition level
  • The report provides detailed information about the manufacturing/extraction process of L-Lactides
  • The report provides information on the production output of L-lactides
  • It provides detailed information on the cost of manufacturing
  • It provides a list of customers of L-lactide along with their contact details
  • The report provides detailed pricing analysis based on end-user industry and regions
  • The report offers Porter’s five forces analysis to highlight the power of buyers and suppliers
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