Endorsed by a massive end-user spectrum, the potential of pigments has been increasingly recognized by many chemical industry players. The wide requirement of corrosion inhibition and color imparting across various expanding domains like paints and coatings, construction, printing inks has led to a rise in the demand for superior performance specialty pigments.

In the year 2018, paints and coatings registered the highest demand for the products, especially from the construction and automobile applications. With the evolution of 3D printing technology, the global printing ink industry has witnessed unprecedented developments over the years.

With an aim to sustain in the fiercely competitive scenario, certain pigment manufacturing companies are focusing on strengthening their product offerings to achieve a better market hold. In August 2019, Tokyo based chemical company- DIC Corporation inked an agreement to purchase the global pigment business of German company- BASF, also known as BASF Colors & Effects. The transaction aimed at broadening DIC’s portfolio as a manufacturer of pigments. DIC aimed at increasing its sales target to €8 billion by the end of 2025 after the acquisition.

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The rising demand for eco-friendly products like water-based inks and UV-curved inks has driven the printing ink consumption. Growing investment made towards R&D due to the environmental concerns and increasing competition in the sector has fostered key pigments market trends. 

The emergence of organic pigments

Organic pigments have witnessed widespread recognition in various parts of the world owing to the sustainability. Growing awareness among people regarding the need to preserve the environment as well as strict regulations established by the governments to use chemical-free products has driven the demand for these compounds.

In the food industry, the regulatory authorities have set up strict rules regarding pigment use due to the toxic elements that are present in certain pigments like lead-based and cadmium based. For instance, the U.S. FDA regulates the use of inks for food supplements in fruits and vegetables, gums, tablets, and confectionery under 21 C.F.R. Section 73.1. 

The regulation also states that the use of inks in food packaging in the form of additives must not compromise with the quality of the product and must be recognized as safe. This has supplemented the demand for organic pigments in the food sector due to the safe nature. However, high prices of organic pigments may affect the growth of the industry over time.

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Extensive use of plastics in various sectors

As per the Plastic Trade Association of Europe, plastic output increased from 245 million tons in 2006 to more than 348 million tons in the year 2017. The rise in demand for plastics due to its low cost and lightweight has steered the demand for pigments from the plastic industry.

China was regarded as the leading consumer of plastics in the year 2017 registering a market share of more than 29%. This is due to the improvement in economic conditions and the subsequent rise in industrialization and the need for plastics for cost-effective production in the nation.  

Restrictions on the use of plastic

In developed regions like North America and Europe, with growing awareness among the people regarding the need to preserve the environment and the harmful effects of using the plastics, has restricted its use to a great extent. Various sectors are aiming at using biodegradable and sustainable alternatives.  

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