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Polylactic Acid Market Report


Polylactic Acid Market by End Use (Packaging, Agriculture, Automotive & Transport, Electronics, Textiles, and Others), and Region (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA): Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2023-2032


Pages: 310

Oct 2023

Polylactic Acid Overview

The thermoplastic polymer known as polylactic acid, or PLA, is biodegradable and bioactive. It is made from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugarcane. It belongs to the class of bioplastics, which are greener options to traditional plastics derived from petroleum. Due to its distinctive qualities, which include biodegradability, composability, and the capacity to be made from renewable sources, PLA has grown significantly in popularity across a variety of industries. This makes it an environmentally viable option. The manufacturing, distribution, and use of PLA in a variety of applications make up the global market for polylactic acid. Due to increased environmental concerns, stringent laws banning single-use plastics, and rising consumer interest in sustainability, this sector has experienced rapid expansion in recent years.

Global Polylactic Acid Market Analysis

The global polylactic acid market size was $640.6 million in 2022 and is predicted to grow with a CAGR of 21.5%, by generating a revenue of $4,490.1 million by 2032.

COVID-19 Impact on Global Polylactic Acid Market

The polylactic acid (PLA) market has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, the use of PLA, a biodegradable and environmentally friendly polymer, has been steadily increasing in several applications. However, the outbreak caused problems in a variety of sectors, which changed consumer habits and production patterns.

Additionally, the pandemic had a mixed effect on the demand for products made from PLA. On the one hand, the demand for PLA-based packaging in the food and beverage industry surged as a result of the increased emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendly materials, particularly for takeaway and delivery services. However, a slump in other industries, such as the automobile and textile industries, affected the overall demand for PLA.  It is anticipated that the demand for biodegradable materials like PLA would increase as economies recover and adjust to the new normal.  

Growing Demand for Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Materials to Drive the Market Growth

Numerous important reasons have contributed to the tremendous rise of the polylactic acid (PLA) industry in recent years. The growing demand for environmentally friendly and sustainable materials is one of the main factors fueling the growth of the PLA market. Consumers and businesses are looking for alternatives to conventional petroleum-based plastics as environmental awareness grows. PLA is a biodegradable and compostable solution that reduces carbon footprint and has little detrimental influence on the environment.

Furthermore, the development of the PLA industry has been significantly influenced by government policies and laws that aim to reduce plastic waste and promote sustainable practices. The use of PLA-based products has also been boosted by changing customer demands for environmentally friendly goods, particularly in the food & beverage sector, where packaging that degrades and composts quickly is becoming more popular. The general rising demand for bio-based and sustainable materials also contributes to the expansion of the PLA industry. The demand for bio-based substitutes is on the rise as customers become more aware of how their purchases affect the environment, and PLA is well-positioned to benefit from this trend.

High Cost of Production to Restrain the Growth of the PLA Industry

The greater production cost of PLA in comparison to conventional petroleum-based polymers is a significant drawback, limiting the market growth. Plant-based sugars are transformed into lactic acid, which is subsequently polymerized to create PLA, increasing the production costs. Because of this, buyers frequently pay more for PLA items, which prevents their wider adoption in several markets. The restricted supply of raw materials for the manufacture of PLA is another barrier. To compete with the food and animal feed industry for these agricultural resources, PLA is primarily made from maize starch or sugarcane. Concerns about the potential effects on food prices and the environment arise as PLA demand rises. The stability and availability of these raw materials can also be impacted by changes in commodity prices and agricultural yields, which heightens the uncertainty surrounding the manufacturing of PLA. Additionally, PLA's mechanical qualities, particularly its brittleness and limited heat resistance, have presented difficulties in several applications. Although PLA is appropriate for single-use disposable objects and packaging, its drawbacks prevent its usage in hot situations or for products that need more flexibility and durability. The growth of the PLA market is also impacted by competition from alternative bioplastics and sustainable materials. Manufacturers and consumers now have more options thanks to developments in biodegradable and biobased polymers as well as other sustainable products. Since industries and consumers are evaluating the most suited products, rising competition threatens PLA's market share and financial sustainability.

Advancements in Technology to Drive Excellent Opportunities

Technology has made great strides in the polylactic acid (PLA) business, revolutionizing the field of sustainable bioplastics. Due to its biodegradability and less carbon impact than conventional petroleum-based polymers, PLA, which is made from renewable resources like sugarcane or maize starch, has become extremely popular. The fundamental goal of technological research has been to increase PLA's processability and mechanical properties, allowing it to compete with traditional plastics in a range of applications. PLA's thermal and mechanical properties, which were previously regarded to be limiting factors for wider adoption, have improved significantly as a result of research and development. Additionally, improvements in processing technology have simplified the production of PLA, thus lowering its overall cost and increasing its level of market competition. Furthermore, technological advancements have made it possible for PLA to be recycled and chemically depolymerized, allowing it to be converted back into lactic acid, the monomer from which it was originally formed. The circular economic potential of PLA is further enhanced by this closed-loop strategy, which also lessens its environmental effect and advances a more sustainable future.

Global Polylactic Acid Market Share, by End Use, 2022

The packaging sub-segment accounted for the highest market share in 2022. The packaging business is one key sector where PLA has found a crucial role. Traditional petroleum-based polymers are being gradually replaced with biodegradable substitutes like PLA due to growing worries about environmental degradation and the need for environmentally friendly solutions. LA has gained popularity in the packaging industry especially because of its exceptional qualities. In comparison to traditional plastics, PLA is a more environmentally friendly option because it is made from renewable resources like corn starch, sugarcane, or other plant-based feedstocks. Due to its biodegradability, it can decompose spontaneously, lessening the load on landfills and the ocean. Furthermore, PLA is renowned for its exceptional printability and clarity, making it a perfect material for transparent packaging and labels. Additionally, the barrier qualities of PLA can be customized to fulfil packaging needs, guaranteeing the preservation and freshness of the wrapped contents. As a result, it has found use in a variety of goods, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and even food and beverage packaging.

Global Polylactic Acid Market Share, by Region, 2022

The North America polylactic acid market generated the highest revenue in 2022. The polylactic acid (PLA) market has seen tremendous growth in the North American region. The demand for PLA in North America has significantly increased as a result of rising environmental consciousness and the expanding use of eco-friendly products. The packaging, textiles, and automotive sectors, among others, have embraced PLA, a biodegradable and renewable polymer made from corn starch or sugarcane. The widespread acceptance of PLA as a competitive substitute for traditional petroleum-based plastics is a result of the region's strong emphasis on decreasing carbon footprint and supporting sustainable practices. The market expansion for PLA in North America has been further supported by government programmes and legislation that favors eco-friendly materials. Additionally, North American consumers are increasingly favoring eco-friendly and bio-based goods, which has increased demand for single-use items and packaging made of PLA. The market has grown in North America as a result of technological developments and innovations in PLA production techniques. The qualities of PLA, such as their mechanical strength and thermal stability, are being improved by producers through research and development, making the material more adaptable and suited to a wider range of end uses.

Competitive Scenario in the Global Polylactic Acid Market

Investment and agreement are common strategies followed by major market players. Some of the leading polylactic acid market players are TotalEnergies Corbion bv, NatureWorks LLC, Jiangsu Supla Bioplastics Co., Ltd., Futerro, COFCO, Jiangxi Keyuan Biopharm Co., Ltd., Shanghai Tong-Jie-Liang Biomaterials Co., Ltd., and Zhejiang Hisun Biomaterials Co., Ltd.  



Historical Market Estimations


Base Year for Market Estimation


Forecast Timeline for Market Projection


Geographical Scope

North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA

Segmentation by End-Use

  • Packaging_ Dominating
  • Agriculture
  • Automotive & Transport
  • Electronics
  • Textiles
  • Others

Key Companies Profiled

  • TotalEnergies Corbion bv
  • NatureWorks LLC
  • Jiangsu Supla Bioplastics Co., Ltd.
  • Futerro
  • Jiangxi Keyuan Biopharm Co.,Ltd.
  • Shanghai Tong-jie-liang Biomaterials Co., Ltd.
  • Zhejiang Hisun Biomaterials Co., Ltd.


Frequently Asked Questions

A. The size of the global polylactic acid market was over $640.6 million in 2022 and is projected to reach $4,490.1 million by 2032.

A. Total Energies Corbion bv and Nature Works LLC are some of the key players in the global polylactic acid market.

A. Agreement and investment are the two key strategies opted for by the operating companies in this market.

A. Jiangsu Supla Bioplastics Co., Ltd., Futerro, and COFCO are the companies investing more in R&D activities for developing new products and technologies.

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