Soap Noodles Market

Soap noodles are derived from either vegetable oil or animal fats and they are essentially the sodium salt of fatty acids. If vegetable oil is used to make soap noodles then olive oil, coconut oil or palm oil can be used. Soap bars are produced using soap noodles. 

The production of soap noodles depends on raw materials. If animal fats or vegetable oils are being used to make soap noodles then a full boiled saponification plant is used. Else, a neutralization plant is used if fatty acids are the raw materials used to produce soap noodles. The global soap noodles market size is 5.2 MMT which indicates the production capacity of soap noodles.

Previously there was a slump in the soap noodles market as low utilization rates were recorded in 2015. In 2017, the production was back on track as a production increase of 96% was recorded at that time. According to the 2020 market intelligence report by Beroe, the global production of soap noodles is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3% in the future. 

The report predicts that soap noodles demand is going to grow at a rate of 1.6% because there might be slow growth in demand. In 2016, the largest market share according to soap noodles application was household use followed by special purpose soaps and industrial use.

During 2017, soap noodles market share for household use was over 70% while special-purpose soaps constituted 17% of the market share and industrial use constituted a 10% market share. The market for household use is going to remain high and there are chances of an increase too because more people are using detergent bars and toilet soaps. This is especially apparent in the Asia region particularly central Asia and South-East Asia. Special purpose soaps such as medicated soaps and herbal soaps have driven the demand for soap noodles and are likely to impact the soap noodles market positively. One of the end-use industries of soap noodles is the textile industry.

The largest producer of soap noodles in the world is Asia. The reason is that Asia has easy access to raw materials required to produce soap noodles such as lauric oil and palm oil. Regions such as the EU are not high producers of soap noodles because raw materials are not as readily available as in other countries across the world. Moreover, the lack of industry knowledge and soap noodles industries in this region has led to a decrease in local production which is likely going to continue. EU imports soap noodles from other countries as a result to accommodate the supply for soap noodles. The UK witnessed an increase in soap noodle use because consumers started to prefer soap bars.

In 2016, soap noodle prices had skyrocketed to USD 960 per MT due to supply shortage. However, this changed the following year. The soap noodles reached USD 820 per MT in 2017. The price of caustic soda rose by 60% in 2017 and the prices of lauric oil and palm oil increased by up to 6%. These factors caused an increase in the cost of soap noodles despite the presence of constant supply in 2017 although this was lower than the previous year. This price hike was also because the demand was lower and manufacturers increased the prices as they didn’t wish to sell for negative margins. In 2018, the price of soap noodles went up to USD 880 per MT.

Soap noodles production is being outsourced by large manufacturers and suppliers. This is to ensure they can focus on other parts of their business such as promotions. This will help give a boost to the captive market and long-term contracts of soap noodles production meaning there is going to be a balanced supply. 15% of soap noodles market production is from toll manufacturing and long-term contracts. The contract manufacturers focus on the production of their soap noodles which has led to low levels of commercial sales. This is likely going to be the trend in the future of soap noodles production.

Some of the major suppliers of soap noodles include Hindustan Unilever, KLK, Wilmar, and Muslim Mas. The production of soap noodles with fatty acids is more profitable although it is up to 10% costlier. However, due to the high purity factor fatty acids based soap noodles are preferred. Most of the key suppliers of soap noodles have already made this move as they are no longer focused on producing soap from vegetable oils. The markets that have a growing market for fatty acid-based soaps are Japan, the EU, and the US. Asia is expected to be the leading producer of soap noodles with Malaysia and Indonesia accounting for up to 50% of the supply capacity.