28 Jul 2017

Major Production Methods, Markets and Demand for Salt in the U.S.

Salt sprinkled on wooden tableSalt, or sodium chloride, is a commodity with heavy usage across the world, mainly for the preparation of countless food items, among others. An average person in America consumes roughly 4,600mg of sodium each day, equivalent to close to two teaspoons every 24 hours. The United States’ salt industry is worth billions of dollars; beat out only by the Chinese salt industry.

Production Methods

Salt production consists of three basic methods in creating salt: solar evaporation, rock salt mining, and vacuum evaporation method. Among these three technologies, most global producers use the solar evaporation method as it is the least expensive. Rock Salt USA notes it for being the oldest method of salt production, where salt is captured in shallow ponds while the sun evaporates most of the water.

US Production Report

A 2017 statistical report by the US Geological Survey indicates data on supply and demand, imports, exports, as well as historical statistics. The report estimates a 7% decrease in domestic salt production to 42 million tons, with 29 companies operating 64 plants in 16 states. Estimated sale and use of salt come to a total of $2 billion.

The top salt-producing states include Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana, Utah, Texas, and New York, producing a combined 95% of all salt in the US in 2016. When classified by type, salt sales and usage arrive at the following percentage estimates: 44% rock salt, 38% salt in brine, 9% solar salt, and 9% for vacuum pan salt.

Salt Consumption by Market and Applications

As for applications, salt consumption for de-icing highways came to 44%; salt sold to chemical industries reached 36%, and salt in brine amounted to 88% as ingredients in the chemical feedstock. Industrial chemical applications like chlorine and caustic soda manufacturing were the primary consumers in industrial markets. The rest of the market consists of distributors, agriculture, food processing, and water treatment services.

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