Citric Acid Industry in China: A Comprehensive Overview and Global Market Analysis

citric acid powder


Learn about the significance of citric acid, a vital organic compound commonly known as CA or citrate.It is a colorless crystal that often contains one molecule of water, has no odor, and a strong acidic taste. It is easily soluble in water. Its calcium salt is more soluble in cold water than in hot water, and this property is commonly used for identifying and separating citric acid. By controlling the appropriate temperature during crystallization, anhydrous citric acid can be obtained. It has numerous applications in industries such as industrial, food, and cosmetics.

From its chemical properties to solubility, this introduction sets the stage for a comprehensive exploration of the citric acid industry. Discover how China has become a key player in citric acid production, including its history, market dominance, and future potential.

Historical Background and Market Overview

  • The origin of citric acid extraction and its early production in the United States, Italy, and the West Indies.
  • Market monopolies and the emergence of China as a leading producer.
  • Current global production capacity, market share, and growth rates.
  • Consumption analysis of citric acid in various industries, with a focus on the food and beverage sector.

In 1784, C.W. Scheele first extracted citric acid from citrus fruits. Initially, natural citric acid was produced in California, the United States, Italy, and the West Indies, with Italy being the largest producer. By 1922, the United States, United Kingdom, France, and other countries monopolized 90% of the global citric acid sales. Currently, the global total production capacity of citric acid exceeds 2 million tons per year, with an annual growth rate of 3% to 4%. In 2021, approximately 61.3% of the global citric acid production was used in the food and beverage industry. Since the 21st century, competition in the citric acid industry has become increasingly fierce, leading to the exit of many small enterprises, resulting in a more concentrated production and trade of citric acid worldwide. Currently, citric acid production is mainly concentrated in countries and regions such as China, the United States, and Europe. Due to the continuous improvement in citric acid production technology and product quality in China, it has gained strong competitiveness in the international market. China has become a major producer and exporter of citric acid, with export volume reaching 940,000 tons in 2020.

Citric Acid Industry in China

  • Evolution of China’s citric acid industry, from late development to current market leadership.
  • Growth trends, production capacity, and quality improvements in Chinese citric acid manufacturing.
  • Market concentration and key players in China, such as Weifang Yingxuan, Shandong Lemon Biochemical, and Rizhao Jinhe Biochemical.
  • Analysis of different citric acid types, including anhydrous and monohydrate.

China’s citric acid industry started relatively late, and it was not until the 1960s that citric acid factories were established. During the “Sixth Five-Year Plan” period, China ranked fifth in citric acid production after the United States, Austria, Belgium, and Italy. During the “Seventh Five-Year Plan” period, driven by the demand for exports, citric acid production in China grew rapidly at a rate of 30% per year. In the early 1990s, there were over 120 citric acid enterprises in China, but the scale, production capacity, and product quality varied. After several years of market adjustments, the number of citric acid enterprises gradually decreased from 2003 onwards, while the scale rapidly expanded, and the citric acid production capacity became more concentrated. Since 2017, the scale of China’s citric acid market has remained relatively stable. In 2021, major citric acid companies in China include Weifang Yingxuan, Shandong Lemon Biochemical, Rizhao Jinhe Biochemical, Jiangsu Guoxin Xie Lian, COFCO Biochemical, Taihe Biochemical, Da Nature Group, and Huangshi Xinghua Biochemical, located in Shandong, Jiangsu, and Jilin provinces, further increasing the concentration of the industry. The main products involve monohydrate citric acid and anhydrous citric acid.

Global Citric Acid Market Analysis

  • Global production volume analysis and growth projections.
  • Market share of major regions, including China, Europe, and North America.
  • Consumption patterns and market revenue analysis.
  • Leading suppliers and their market positioning.

The global production of citric acid increased from 2.046 million tons in 2017 to 2.19 million tons in 2021, at a CAGR of 1.71%. Regions such as China, Europe, and North America are the major production regions for citric acid in the past few years, with China producing a total of 1.382 million tons of citric acid in 2021, accounting for 63.11% of the global citric acid market, followed by Europe region producing 258,000 tons of citric acid in 2021, accounting for 11.78% of the market share.

The global citric acid sales market in 2017 revenue rose from 1719.2 million USD to 1796 million USD in 2021, its main sales regions are Europe, North America and China, etc., of which China 2021 consumption amounted to 398,000 tons, occupying 18.17% share of the citric acid consumption market.

Weifang Ensign, Shandong Lemon Biochemistry and Rizhao Jinhe Biochemistry are the major suppliers in the global market with leading technology and market position. 35.5% of the top 3 global market share in 2021. In the Chinese market, Weifang Ensign, Shandong Lemon Biochemistry, and Rizhao Jinhe Biochemistry together hold about 53.6% of the domestic market share.

Downstream Industries and Future Outlook

  • Citric acid applications in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and personal care industries.
  • Growing demand for citric acid in detergent and cleaning agent manufacturing.
  • Projections for the future of the citric acid market, including market size, consumption trends, and emerging opportunities.

The main classification of citric acid is citric acid monohydrate and citric acid anhydrous. In 2021, the global sales of citric acid monohydrate was 1.271 million tons and citric acid anhydrous was 919,000 tons, occupying 58.05% and 41.95% of the global market respectively, and the market share of citric acid anhydrous will gradually expand in the future market, and the market share is expected to reach 43.61% in 2028.

The downstream industries of citric acid are food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and personal care, detergents and cleaning agents, etc. In recent years, the consumption of citric acid has increased with the recovery of the global economy and the increasing demand for citric acid in various sectors. The citric acid market is expected to show a steady rise in the foreseeable future.

Conclusion: China’s citric acid industry has witnessed remarkable growth and market dominance in recent years. With its rich production capacity, technological advancements, and increasing quality standards, China has become a major global supplier. As the demand for citric acid continues to rise, it is crucial to stay informed about market trends, key players, and downstream industries. By understanding the citric acid landscape in China and beyond, businesses can capitalize on opportunities and make informed decisions in this thriving sector.