Castor oil is a plant-based oil extracted commonly by cold-pressed process from castor beans. It is usually a pale yellow liquid with a distinct odor and taste. Various types of derivatives are obtained from castor oil, such as ricinoleic acid, castor wax, and dehydrated castor oil. Castor oil has 90% of ricinoleic acid of the total fatty acids, which is used on printing ink, textile finishing, and pigments.
The primary use of castor oil is as a chemical intermediate to produce oleochemicals that find application as a replacement for petroleum-based products. Castor oil is utilized commercially as a highly renewable resource for various industries such as pharmaceuticals, lubricants, biodiesel, automotive, and cosmetics.
Growing inclination towards organic and plant-based cosmetic products boosts the demand for castor oil
The interest in plant-based cosmetics is rapidly growing with increasing concerns on synthetic and animal-derived formulations. Most Traditional cosmetics are based on chemical ingredients, which are synthetic and harmful for humans. The chemical-based cosmetics impact skin and cause allergic reactions and various other skin problems which is a growing need for plant-based alternatives.
Castor oil is an effective choice owing to high specific gravity and hydroxyl value and is growing its use in the synthesis of polyester amide, polyurethane, epoxy, interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) and blending with commercial polymethylmethacrylate, polyvinyl alcohol, polystyrene in various formulations, thus driving market growth in the industry.
The rising vegan population is another macro factor leading to market growth. The vegan population prefers organic or plant-based products since various cosmetics manufacturers use fish oil and other meat-related ingredients.
Inorganic and plant-based skincare products, natural ingredients commonly used are vegetable oil, castor oil with active and functional properties for face and body products. According to economists, 11% of the total global consumer are vegetarian and 3% are vegan population which is giving preferences to plant-based products.
China leading in the consumption of castor oil globally. Production is highly concentrated in India
Asia-Pacific is the largest consumer and producer of castor oil and derivatives. India is the largest producer and exporter of castor beans and oil globally followed by China. The suitable climate and soil cultivation of this oilseed, and the availability of castor seed crushing facilities led to the large volume of castor oil production in the country.
Production reached 1.08 million metric tons in 2019 and castor oil exports during the year recorded at 572 thousand metric tons. China evolved as the largest consumer owing to large-scale consumption in cosmetics, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The country is focusing on the procurement of castor seeds from India to reduce its dependence on castor oil.
The geographical advantage in terms of bean production led Indian players to dominate the market
The global castor oil & derivatives market is consolidated with very limited players holding major shares and most of these companies are based in India. TCO GROUP, ITOH OIL CHEMICALS CO. LTD., R.P.K. Agrotech Exports Pvt. Ltd., Gustav Heess Oleochemische Erzeugnisse GmbH, HOKOKU CORPORATION, Taj Agro International (Taj Pharma Group), Haihang Industry, Croda International Plc, Adani Group, Kanak Castor Products Pvt. Ltd., and others are some of the leading players on the global market.
Companies are focusing on the development of industry-specific oil quality to cater to the needs of end-users. Cosmetics is leading in the end-use spectrum in terms of new product launches
In August 2021, BASF has launched Elastoflex, with castor oil-based polyurethane, with bio-based castor oil making up 20% of the product overall
In March 2019, GEKA had launched a new collection of cosmetic products ‘kiss the nature’ which are fiber consisting of 100% renewable raw material from castor oil plant