Controlled Release Technologies: Established and Emerging Markets

Published - Sep 2006| Analyst - Jim Wilson| Code - MST027G
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Report Highlights

  • BCC projects that sales of controlled release materials will be $553.25 million in 2006, and will rise to $572.80 in 2007. Over the course of the 5-year forecast period, sales will increase at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 6.6%, reaching $787.46 million in 2012.
  • The market can be broken down into four different sectors: agriculture, food processing, consumer products, and infrastructure/industrial/energy. Of these four, agriculture has by far the largest market share, with 27.5% in 2006. By the end of the forecast period it will reach $259 million, almost 33% of the total market.
  • Food processing has the highest growth rate through the forecast period, with an AAGR of 7.8%. The next highest AAGR was food processing at 7.4%.


Over the past decade, industry analysts have observed that the use of controlled release products had extended far beyond the medical applications and limited use in specialty agricultural products. During that time, accumulated industry know-how and the expiration of many of the original patents has made it economical to add controlled release components, chiefly engineered polymers, into less expensive products including commodities. The migration of controlled release features from high-margin specialty products to low-margin mass marketed products is, of course, characteristic of most advanced technologies. In the case of controlled release technology, three additional, and on the surface seemingly unrelated, forces have come into play to accelerate the demand for materials that impart sustained or timed delivery characteristics. Those forces are:

  • Higher than previously anticipated petroleum costs.
  • Consumer demand for faster meal preparation.
  • Sweeping new European Union (EU) rules that could restrict the use of as many as 30,000 commonly used industrial chemicals.

The speed with which those changes will impact upon the markets for existing controlled release products makes it appropriate for BCC to prepare an in-depth analysis of the current state of the industry in 2006, and forecast its direction through 2012.


This report contains:

  • The basic controlled release technologies used in non-medical markets
  • A detailed description of global forces shaping future markets for controlled release products
  • Projections for the 2006 U.S. and global material sales in 22 market segments
  • Forecasts 2007 to 2012 U.S. and global material demand in each segment
  • Key patents for methods and materials that impart controlled release
  • Profiles of the major controlled release technology developers.


BCC presents an analysis of the demand for the most commonly used materials that impart controlled release characteristics on products sold into 22 market segments within the agriculture, food processing, consumer products, and institutional, industrial and energy industries. Our estimated value is what manufacturers have paid for barrier materials in constant dollars.

To forecast emerging technologies and products we analyze controlled release products currently on the market, announced products undergoing field testing, U.S. patents, and products referenced in forward looking financial statements filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission.

This report specifically omits products that fall under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as biologics, drugs, medical devices, combination products, dental products and veterinary products. Controlled release products for human healthcare are discussed in detail in Medical Device Coatings.


BCC studied more than 300 companies to obtain data for this study. Included were raw material suppliers and manufacturers of finished goods. We also reviewed reports and studies prepared for peer-reviewed professional literature, and reports by the technical staffs of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates products used in agriculture and food processing; the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Geologic Survey, which are involved in oil and gas exploration; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which registers pesticides and toxic substances and their foreign counterparts. In addition, we compiled data from scientific and technical conferences, presentations prepared for financial analysts, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank, and the European Commission.


James Wilson is a well known technology analyst and author of more than 300 articles and several books dealing with science, medicine, technology and business. Formerly the editor of the Princeton Business Journal and a senior science and technology editor for Hearst Magazines, he is member of the National Association of Science Writers and American Medical Writers Association. He has served on the adjunct faculty of Temple University and on the staffs of Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences. He is also the author of Medical Device Coatings.

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