Sorbitan esters are used across a wide array of applications such as pharmaceutical, food & beverage, beauty personal care, animal nutrition, textiles, lubricants and other industrial uses. Also, there has been a growing inclination towards clean labeling which has fostered an increase in the demand for bio-based surfactants. The above factors are likley to boost the market demand for sorbitan esters over the forecast period. The global sorbitan esters market is likely to grow from USD 1,057.20 million to USD 1,552.66 million by 2027, at a CAGR of 5.1% over the forecast period (2020-2027) according to QuantAlign Research.

Besides being an emulsifying agent, sorbitan esters also act as solubilizer, dispersants, wetting agents, and electrolyte tolerant. The properties offered by these esters include formulation flexibility, enhanced stability and higher compatibility with materials. Most of the spans have HLB (hydrophilic-lipophilic balance) between 1.8 and 8.6, and this property is used to determine the ability of the ester to be dissolved in water or fat.

Growing concerns regarding the use of synthetic based surfactants across the globe, has fostered the demand for bio-based surfactants over time. Several government regulations supporting the use of bio surfactants as against conventional surfactants are expected to fuel the market demand for sorbitan esters over the coming years. Moreover, fluctuations in the oil prices are likely to further compliment the market growth. For instance, Croda International, a key market player has recently launched its range of bio-based surfactants to meet the increasing demand for sustainable high performance ingredients.

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Key insights:
• Sorbitan monostearate segment held the major share of the market in 2019, and the trend is expected to continue over the forecast period
• Food & beverages segment accounted for the largest share of the market in 2019, while the pharmaceutical segment is likely to witness a significant CAGR from 2019-2027
• Europe held the majority share of the global market in 2019, however Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR over the forecast period

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Segment overview
On the basis of type, the sorbitan monostearate segment held the largest share of the global market in 2019. Sorbitan monostearate with a molecular formula of C24H46O6(also known as Span 60), is an ester of sorbitan (a sorbitol derivative) and stearic acid, and is sometimes referred to as synthetic wax. It is used in the pharmaceutical and food industry. It is used as a food additive, working as a blender or surfactant. It is also used as an emulsifier, disperser, wetter, or other form of food additive.

On the basis of application, the food & beverage segment accounted for the largest share of the global market in 2019 and the trend is expected to continue over the coming years. Sorbitan esters are widely used in cosmetics, food products, and pharmaceutical formulations as lipophilic nonionic surfactant. Sorbitan esters in combination with ethoxylated sorbitan esters (polysorbates) are used in ice creams, icings, chocolate, and fillings.

On the basis of region, Europe dominated the global market for sorbitan esters in 2019 on account of high demand for beauty and personal care products along with the increasing expenditure in pharmaceutical industry. Moreover, Germany, France, U.K., Spain, Italy are among the top national markets for cosmetic and personal care products in the region. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to emerge as the fastest growing region owing to the rising disposable income in the region.
Key players operating in the market include Croda International Plc; DowDuPont Inc.; Clariant AG; Akzo Nobel N.V.; Ashland Global Holdings Inc.; Evonik Industries AG; Lonza Group Ltd.; Merck KGaA; among others.

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