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4 major applications impacting the future of 2-phenylethanol industry

  • Published Date: June 21, 2022

The global 2-phenylethanol market has been experiencing massive growth in recent years on account of mounting demand for cosmetics and personal care products. With the rising disposable incomes of consumers, the demand for personal care and pharma products has depicted a massive uptake, leading to major companies making a foray into these industries. Say, for example, Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL) recently came up with a highly ambitious expansion strategy. The company plans to penetrate the home and personal care space via acquisitions-led growth tactics and aims to become a prime seller of products such as creams, home cleaners, detergents, and body washes.

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The expansion of industries such as personal care and cosmetics will have a profound impact on the demand for 2-phenylethanol or phenethyl alcohol, which essentially refers to a primary alcohol and is a member of benzenes. It finds extensive usage as a fragrance, a Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolite, an Aspergillus metabolite, a plant metabolite, and a plant growth retardant. Phenethyl alcohol uses span a wide range of industries.

The product is also utilized as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and antimicrobial, and is applied broadly as an aromatic essence in perfumery and as a preservative in pharmaceuticals. According to a report by Global Market Insights Inc., the global 2-phenylethanol market size is estimated to reach more than USD 370 million in revenue by the end of 2028. Following are some notable applications of phenethyl alcohol that are likely to support market growth through the forecast period.

  1. Cosmetics & personal care: Benefits of phenethyl alcohol in skin care

In cosmetics & personal care products, 2-phenylethanol is the main component of rose oils that are obtained from the rose blossom as it has a mild rose odor. The compound is also present in Ylang-Ylang, Carnation, Neroli, and Geranium oils. Other than rose formulations, phenethyl alcohol is also utilized in large amounts as a fragrance material for other blossom notes, which creates a major scope of application for phenyl ethyl alcohol in perfume or fragrance products. Since the chemical is stable in alkali, it is also included in soap perfumes.

Nonenal, an unsaturated aldehyde, is found in people over 40 years of age. It is also known to increase with age and is suspected to be the cause of age-related changes in body odor. Research indicates that masking nonenal’s scent could prevent skin thinning and skin cell damage. To that effect, recent studies have shown that a masking fragrance with phenethyl alcohol and other compounds could help suppress skin damage caused by nonenal. These findings have opened new avenues for maintaining the appearance and health of the skin, which is promoting the expansion of 2-phenylethanol market.

Moreover, industry players have been implementing effective expansion strategies to improve their offerings with the integration of newer products. For instance, in February 2021, Eternis Fine Chemicals Ltd, a key manufacturer of aromatic chemicals, acquired Tennants Fine Chemicals, a UK-based specialty chemicals company, to extend its portfolio of aroma chemicals and leverage the multi-location manufacturing as well as distribution platforms. Subsequently, the soaring emphasis of manufacturers on broadening their product offerings has been bolstering product uptake in leading regions worldwide.

      2 . Pharmaceuticals: Growing prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic

In the pharmaceutical sector, 2-phenylethanol is primarily used as a preservative, among other applications. Notably, olfactory dysfunction (OD) or loss of smell is a prominent symptom of the COVID-19 infection that is caused by the novel coronavirus. Phenyl ethyl alcohol has been known to improve olfactory functions, particularly odor threshold, in people, which has prompted research efforts for studying its utilization in the treatment of COVID-19-induced loss of smell.

Additionally, one of the other phenethyl alcohol uses in pharmaceuticals is its application as an antifungal agent in instances of vulvovaginitis or vaginal inflammation. Studies have found that combining common antifungal drugs with phenethyl alcohol can augment their antifungal effect drastically. In effect, widespread uses of the compound in the pharmaceutical sector have been profitable for overall 2-phenylethanol industry growth.

      3 . Food & beverages: Prevalent demand in commercial and industrial sectors

Phenethyl alcohol is made by yeasts during the fermentation of alcohols either by metabolism of sugar substrates or decomposition of L-phenylalanine. Many yeasts can be used to produce the chemical, including some agro-industrial waste and by-products that have high nutritional value, which makes them ideal media for microbial growth.

Moreover, 2-phenylethanol possesses organoleptic properties and affects the quality of distilled beverages, wine, and fermented foods. It is detectable in fresh beer as well as is responsible for well-ripened cheese’s rose-like odor. It is considered an important flavor industrially and commercially. In addition, it is included in a wide array of food products viz., gelatin, candy, chewing gum, pudding, ice cream, and non-alcoholic beverages, which is propelling the revenue growth of the 2-phenylethanol market.

     4 . Laundry & home care: COVID-19-induced surge in demand for disinfectants

After the onset of COVID-19, there was a spike in laundry and home care product sales in the light of the recommendations given by leading government and healthcare organizations pertaining to surface cleaning. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that products containing 70-90% alcohol were suitable for surface disinfection.

Due to its fragrance and disinfectant properties, phenethyl alcohol is incorporated into numerous laundry & home care products, such as detergents, surface disinfectants, air fresheners, and soaps, among others. Rising prominence of disinfectants and detergents in healthcare as well as non-healthcare facilities during the pandemic has significantly impelled 2-phenylethanol market growth in recent years.

Final Thoughts

The application of 2-phenylethanol in diverse industry verticals has substantially fostered product outlook in recent years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has witnessed steady growth driven by mounting demand for phenethyl alcohol in several products, such as disinfectants, pharmaceuticals, and so on. Increased research focus to widen the scope of application of the chemical, along with high presence of core manufacturers in the sector, is foreseen to stimulate market growth in the upcoming period.

Author: Anjali Mishra

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