Squalene Market by Source Type (Animal Source (Shark Liver Oil), Vegetable Source (Olive Oil, Palm Oil, Amaranth Oil)
Biosynthetic (GM Yeast), End-use Industry (Cosmetics, Food and Pharmaceuticals) and Region – Global Forecast to 2027
The squalene market is estimated to grow to USD 198 million by 2027 from USD 143 million in 2022, at a CAGR of 6.8% between 2022 and 2027. Increasing demand for squalene in COVID-19 vaccines and awareness regarding the benefits of squalene on human health are the major factors driving the market growth. As squalene is highly effective in increasing the immune response, it is used as a key ingredient in numerous vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines. The British company, GlaxoSmithKline, is using squalene from many years as an adjuvant in flu vaccines. Squalene is widely accepted as a potential antioxidant. The presence of nutritional compounds such as Vitamin A, E, and K1 makes squalene a strong antioxidant.
Driver: Beneficial for human health
Squalene is a natural skin ingredient as it is naturally present in the skin in minute concentrations. It has many beneficial properties such as anti-oxidation, anti-aging, and UV protection, thus finding applications in the cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food industries. Squalene is not easily influenced by peroxidation and appears to function as a quencher of singlet oxygen in the skin and, therefore, protects the human skin surface from exposure of ultraviolet light and other sources of oxidative damage. It acts as a detoxifier for highly lipophilic xenobiotics, assisting with their elimination from the body.
Restraint: Consumer skepticism about animal-sourced products and limitations on shark killing
Squalene is mainly derived from shark liver oil, leading to the overfishing of sharks. The consumer skepticism regarding the usage of animal-sourced products has led the end-use manufacturers to avoid using squalene sourced from shark liver in their products. Most laws allow shark liver oil to be extracted as a by-product of shark fishing. With the reduction in shark fishing activities due to certain rules and regulations and overfishing of sharks, the supply of shark livers has decreased, which is affecting the supply of squalene.
Opportunity: New renewable sources for squalene production
With skepticism about shark liver oil sourced from sharks and low concentration of squalene in vegetable oils, the supply is fluctuating, and the prices are volatile. As several regulations are introduced for shark fishing, the supply of squalene has been majorly affected. In vegetable oils, the squalene content is very low, and therefore, tons of olives and amaranth are required to produce a small quantity of squalene. Collectively, these reasons have led to high squalene retail prices. This sparks an opportunity for the players to come up with new technologies to develop squalene from alternative sources. Sugarcane and other sugar-containing biomaterials have been identified as the sources of producing squalane (hydrogenated squalene). This is expected to increase the supply of raw materials for squalene production.
Challenge: Fluctuating costs of raw materials
The squalene market faces many challenges, the most significant of which is the shifting price of raw materials such as olives, shark livers, and others. The fluctuation in the prices of the raw materials is likely to hamper the expansion of the market due to the changes in the costs of oils in the food industry, as oils are a major part of the food industry. The short-term price volatility of these raw materials, such as olives and shark livers, impedes the growth of the market.
“Biosynthetic is projected to be the fastest-growing source type during the forecast period”
The biosynthetic segment is projected to be the fastest-growing source type, in terms of value, during the forecast period. This is due to its renewable nature, steady raw material availability, and the skepticism and regulations surrounding animal-sourced squalene. The production cost for synthetic squalene is less than that of vegetable- and animal-sourced squalene.
“Food was the second-largest squalene end-use industry in 2021 in terms of value”
Food is the second-largest end-use industry of squalene, followed by the pharmaceuticals industry. Squalene is used in various food products to enhance their nutritional value. These are used in the production of dietary supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, and other products. The demand for squalene in the food industry would depend on the growth of the dietary supplements segment of the nutraceuticals sector. The nutraceuticals sector is currently experiencing an upward growth trend driven by emerging economies such as India, China, and Brazil.
“Europe to account for the largest share of the global squalene market in 2021”
Europe was the largest market for squalene, in terms of value, in 2021 and is expected to exhibit the same trend until 2027. The demand for high-quality products from the cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals end-use industries is driving the market in the region. The market witnessed a shift from animal-sourced squalene to vegetable-sourced squalene in the past years. The trend is expected to remain the same during the forecast period. High-spending power of consumers and the increasing demand for premium cosmetic products are likely to drive the market in Europe during the forecast period.