Demand for polystyrene, and its base product styrene, will see a rapid increase in emerging countries in the coming years, according to market research institute Ceresana.
These countries show strong economic growth and consumers have a rising income. In the past eight years, demand for styrene in China has risen by 9.6% per year.
“40% of styrene is processed into packaging, food packaging in particular. Polystyrene packaging is the most important sales market for styrene and so will exert a considerable influence on development,” said Clemens Murek, director economics, Ceresana.
However, globally, demand for polystyrene will lag behind other materials with a ‘moderate increase.’
“We expect consumption of polystyrene packaging (food and non-food) to increase by 2.2% per annum until 2020. Demand for styrene in the production of polystyrene is projected to increase at the same growth rate,” Murek added.
The use of different plastics is affecting the call for polystyrene in many countries, according to the report.
“In the packaging of dairy products such as yoghurt cups, polystyrene is increasingly replaced by polypropylene,” said Murek.
Production of styrene is also relocating to emerging countries, while developed industrialized regions have considerably reduced capacities in the last few years.
“As demand for polystyrene is increasing in emerging countries in particular, production volume in these countries will increase much more rapidly than in industrialized countries,” Murek added.
Polystyrene is used in food packaging because it is odourless and tasteless, has low absorbance, and is heat resistant.
It is used as food packaging for lots of products including meat, dairy, fast food and fruit. Other forms are used as insulation and the automotive and electronics industry.
The research is published by Ceresana in “Market Study: Styrene”