Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) also known as hypromellose is a hydrocolloid and derivative of cellulose. Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is viscoelastic, inert polymer majorly used as ophthalmic lubricant. Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is also used as an excipient in pharmaceutical industry. HPMC finds applications in various end-user industries such as buildings & construction, food & beverages, paints & coatings, personal care and adhesives among others. HPMC acts as rheology modifier and controller, thickening agent, stabilizing agent and emulsifier in various applications. HPMC is known to be major substitute for animal gelatin.
The market for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose was driven by various factors such as high demand from low fat foods due to its performance and increasing demand from pharmaceutical applications. Huge demand from pharmaceutical industry is driving the hydroxypropyl methylcellulose market in past few years. Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is used as excipient in tablet formulations. In addition, HPMC finds major application in ophthalmology, where it acts as a lubricant. HPMC helps to reduce eye irritation and provides more lubricant time. Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is used in various food industry related applications such as bakery, dairy products, dessert and toppings and sauces among others. Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose also finds application in paints and coatings where it is used as rheology modifier, thickener and stabilizing agent. However, stringent regulations related to hydroxypropyl methylcellulose especially, in personal care, food & beverages and pharmaceutical industry coupled with threat from various substitutes can acts as a major restraint for the HPMC market in next few years.
In terms of demand, Asia Pacific was the leading region in hydroxypropyl methylcellulose market. Asia Pacific is likely to be one of the fastest growing markets for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose due to increasing demand from food & beverages and pharmaceutical industry. China had the highest demand for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose in Asia Pacific region and is likely to follow similar trend over the forecast period. Emerging countries such as Japan, India, Indonesia and South Korea are anticipated to exhibit more demand for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose in next few years. Asia Pacific was followed by Europe where demand for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is high owing to rising consumption of HPMC from end-user industries such as personal care, food & beverages and paints & coatings among others. Germany led the demand for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose in Europe in 2012. Other major countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Sweden are likely to offer potential market for HPMC in upcoming years.
However, food regulations related to hydroxypropyl methylcellulose industry is likely to hinder the growth of the market in this region. North America had the third-largest demand for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose in 2012. Increasing demand from pharmaceutical industry was driving the growth of the HPMC market in this region. The U.S. had the largest demand for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose owing to huge demand from food & beverages personal care market. Rest of the World market is forecasted to show huge potential for the hydroxypropyl methylcellulose market in near future. Latin America and the Middle East are likely to show fastest growth for the hydroxypropyl methylcellulose market in this region. The demand for HPMC is huge due to increasing demand from paints & coatings and mining applications.
The market for hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is highly concentrated and is dominated by global manufacturers. Some of the key manufacturers in the hydroxypropyl methylcellulose market are Ashland Inc, Samsung Fine Chemical Company, The Dow Chemical Company and Zhejiang Kehong Chemical Co. Ltd among others.