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The Increasing Need for Potato Starch in the Paper Industry

   December 8, 2022

Potato starch has a wide range of applications in the paper industry. It is used as a flocculant and retention aid, bonding agent, surface size, binder for coatings, and adhesive in corrugated boards, laminated grades, and other products. Starch is an important component of many paper grades. Starch consumption by weight in papermaking and paper conversion processes ranks third after cellulose fiber and mineral pigments. Cationic potato starch improves the retention of filler and fine fibers as well as the mechanical properties of the paper. It is mostly added on the wet end. Unmodified potato starch is highly preferred over other starches in a coated paper for its film-forming properties, excellent binding power, and lower moisture retention, which leads to better coatings and reduced load on the drying section.

The paper and pulp industry is one of the largest industries worldwide; it has adapted to the changes in recent years and continues to thrive. The global paper industry is flourishing, with tremendous production and consumption worldwide. For instance, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global production of paper and paperboard was 303.6 million tonnes in 2020. According to the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), paper & board production increased by 3% in 2021 from 2020, while Europe recorded a growth of 5.8% in 2021, with total production reaching 90.2 million tons. The growth in paper & board production has simultaneously increased the demand for and adoption of potato starch in the pulp & paper industry.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China is the world's largest paper and paper products manufacturer. In 2020, it generated a revenue of more than 1.3 trillion RMB (about USD 201BN), with a gross profit of 82.67 billion RMB (about USD 13 BN), at a 21.2% year-on-year growth. According to the paper industry technical association, in 2020, the U.K. paper industry produced 3.63 million tonnes of paper. Potato starch improves the retention of filler and fine fibers as well as the mechanical properties of the paper.

According to the Central Pulp & Paper Research Institute, the Indian paper industry has a production capacity ranging from 5 TPD to 1,650 TPD and is geographically highly dispersed. In the past decade, Indian Paper Industry registered substantial growth, with a twofold increase in production from 10.99 million tons in 2010 to 21.36 million tons in 2020. Also, paper consumption in India increased from 16.91 million tons in 2016–2017 to 22.83 million tons in 2019–20. During this period, India's paper consumption registered a growth of 6% compared to the global growth of 3%, making India one of the fastest-growing paper markets worldwide.

Hence, the strong growth of the pulp and paper industry and the wide range of applications of potato starch in the industry drive the growth of the potato starch market.

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