An Overview of Oleochemicals and Their Role

Oleochemicals can be defined as a chemical compound derived industrially from sources such as animal or vegetable oils and fats. The production of these valuable compounds is where science meets sustainability.

The current global oleochemical market is vibrant, eclipsing $33 billion in 2021, with the largest market share belonging to the food and beverage industry. That number is projected to increase to more than $52 billion by 2028, according to a report from Fortune Business Insights.

Beyond the strong economic impact of the industry, what many consumers may not realize is just how versatile oleochemicals are regarding the products they are used as a critical ingredient for. This is just one reason why, here at Cremer North America, we’re proud to be a leading oleochemical provider in the United States.

Oleochemical Makeup and Production

Many industries and their processes don’t always generate as much acclaim as they might deserve, but nonetheless contribute in important ways to our everyday lives.

Oleochemicals fall into this category. These are compounds in the form of fats and oils extracted from natural, biological sources like plants and animals.

One of the primary benefits of these compounds is that they can be used in many applications instead of petroleum-based petrochemicals. This is a key advantage in terms of availability and sustainability as an ingredient in many medical, edible, industrial and personal care products.

Transformative processes like hydrolysis (water-based) or alcoholysis (alcohol-based) produce the compounds which are sourced from green, all-natural materials like olive, palm, soybean and coconut oils, as well as fats from fish and poultry.

Then they are formed into common ingredients like fatty acids, fatty alcohols, methyl esters and glycerol. From there, the oleochemicals are used to make everyday products for many industries and personal use applications.

Popular Uses for Oleochemicals

One of the biggest benefits of oleochemical compounds is that they are extremely versatile. The most common oleochemical forms are fatty acids, fatty alcohols, esters, and glycerin, which are then used to make everyday consumer products such as:

  • Soaps
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Skin Lotions
  • Fabric Softener
  • Condiments
  • Canned Soup
  • Household Cleaners
  • Industrial Cleaners
  • Industrial Lubricants
  • Printer Ink
  • Pesticides

For information on our domestic oleochemical supply, specific applications, or to place orders or request samples, visit

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