Oxygen scavengers are also called oxygen absorbers. They are generally used in packaging to help remove or decrease the level of oxygen in packages. Oxygen scavengers help maintain the quality of the product by ensuring its safety and extending its life. A number of oxygen scavengers are used in applications such as food & beverage, pharmaceuticals, power, oil & gas, chemicals, etc.. Organic and inorganic are the two common grades of oxygen scavengers that help reduce the level of oxygen in water. This aids in decreasing the accelerated corrosion caused by the presence of oxygen in a high heat environment. Grades of oxygen scavengers differ based on effectiveness, temperature ranges, cost, reaction time, and type of application. Initially, sulfite and hydrazine were principal materials used to protect boiler systems from oxygen. However, hydrazine was identified as a suspected carcinogen in many countries. Therefore, manufacturers adopted oxygen scavengers as a substitute for hydrazine. Oxygen scavenger chemicals are added to boilers or condensate to remove residual dissolved oxygen.
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Oxygen scavengers play an important role in food preservation. Many foods are sensitive to oxygen. Oxygen is responsible for the deterioration of many food products either directly or indirectly. Food deterioration is caused by oxidation reactions or by the presence of spoilage aerobic microorganisms. Therefore, in order to preserve these products, oxygen is often removed. The presence of oxygen in food packages is primarily due to failures in the packaging process such as presence of a mixture of gases containing oxygen residues or inefficient vacuuming. Vacuum packaging has been widely used to eliminate oxygen in packages prior to sealing. However, the oxygen that permeates from the outside environment into packages through the packaging material cannot be removed with the help of oxygen scavengers. The demand for oxygen scavengers in food and beverage industry is witnessing a rise as they provide protection from various microorganisms, spoilage, color & nutrient loss, and rancidity of food. Oxygen scavenger technology is based on oxidation or a combination of components such as iron powder, ascorbic acid, photosensitive polymers, enzymes, etc. These compounds are able to reduce the levels of oxygen to below 0.01%, which is lower than the levels typically found in conventional systems of modified atmosphere, vacuums, or substitution of internal atmosphere for inert gas.
Based on geography, the global oxygen scavengers market can be classified into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is expected to be a dominant region of the market for oxygen scavengers during the forecast period. North America is a prominent consumer of packaged food and pharmaceutical products. Factors such as a large industrial base, high disposable income, and high standard of living of the population in the region are expected to fuel the oxygen scavengers market in North America in the near future. In addition, government initiatives and policies to attract investments from various international companies is likely to boost expansion of various end-use industries of oxygen scavengers, further driving the market in the region.
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Major players operating in the global oxygen scavengers market are Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, BASF SE, Ecolab Inc., Clariant Ltd., and Kemira OYJ, and others. These companies hold a significant share of the oxygen scavengers market. Thus, the oxygen scavengers market experiences intense competition.