Citric acid, also known as the E330 to the scientific fraternity, is a weak organic acid with formula C6H8O7. It is a natural preservative which is present in citrus fruits. It is also used to add an acidic or sour taste to foods and drinks, found naturally in lime and lemon, but usually produced in factories and industries. Citric acid is the most widely used food acidity regulator in the world. The acid and its derivatives are also used in other industries such as detergents, cleaners, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and other industrial applications.
About three-quarters of the world consumption of citric acid is in food and beverages, primarily as an acidity regulator mainly used in carbonated soft drinks. Citric acid is used to control the growth of microorganisms, adjust acidity (pH), provide sourness and tartness, and enhance flavors. As an acidulant, citric acid competes with phosphoric, tartaric, DL-malic, fumaric, and lactic acids.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of citric acid in the year of 2015:
China Citric Acid Market
Asia is the largest consumer market of citric acid and citrates, accounting for approximately 28% of world consumption in 2015. China is the largest single participant in the citric acid and citrates market, accounting for 59% of world production in 2015; it also accounted for 62%, 74%, and 12% of world capacity, exports, and consumption, respectively, in 2015. China will remain the largest producer during 2015–20, but its share of global production capacity is expected to remain stable or decrease slightly, as Chinese manufacturers establish production facilities in other countries, in part to secure access to feedstocks. Although domestic consumption is forecast to grow at a healthy rate, China is expected to remain a major exporter of citric acid.
Currently the world capacity of citric acid is approximately 2 million tonnes, annual capacity is 1.5 million tonnes, total trade quantity is 1.3 million tonnes. The total capacity of China citric acid has reached 1.5 million tonnes, accounting for 75% of the world capacity; the annual capacity of China citric acid has reached 1.1 million tonnes, accounting for two-third of the world capacity; the annual export volume of China citric acid is 0.8 million tonnes, accounting for more than 70% of the world export volume.
Citric acid produced by Chinese manufacturers has been exported to more than 100 countries and regions in the world, among them India is the biggest target country. However, with the continuous increase of the export volume of China citric acid, the price of citric acid is decreasing in the recent years. In 2012, the average export price of citric acid was $1.004/kg, $0.922/kg in 2013, and $0.881/kg in 2013. From Jan. to Sep. in 2015, the average export price of China citric acid was $0.790/kg, which is 11.63% lower than the same period in the 2014, $0.894/kg. The average export price of China citric acid has decreased by 30%, $0.34/kg in four years.
Top Ten Citric Acid Producers from China (Based on Export Volume in 2015)
OKCHEM, a leading E-procurement solution for global chemical suppliers and end-users, is dedicated to gathering and sharing the up-to-date information and news of global chemical industry, especially the trends of China chemical market. Please follow us on Linkedin or Facebook to receive updates of chemical news.