Gel fuels are manufactured from alcohol-based fuels such as ethanol and methanol and they are safe to use in indoor and outdoor applications such as indoor fireplaces, firepits, campaigns, and chafing dishes among others. They don’t give off toxic smoke or a noxious odor when burned. While the traditional fireplaces such as wood and coal-based emit CO2 and cause discomfort among people in indoor fireplaces. As traditional woodburning fireplaces decline in popularity in the U.S. due to pollution concerns and the introduction of new laws and restrictions, consumers are turning to alternative fuels. An increase in home hours during the winter season in Northern American states is driving the demand for fireplaces which is further driving the demand for gel fuels. The increasing chafing activities in hotels, cruise ships, the food industry, and others are also boosting the market growth for gel fuels. U.S. Gel Fuel and Pourable Ethanol Market size is forecast to reach US$63.1 million by 2027, after growing at a CAGR of 5.3% from 2022-to 2027.

The gel fuel tends to burn hotter than the wick fuels when they are thick enough, the gels are almost spill-proof, which is safer for the users and restaurant customers. Vendors offer the fuels in individual containers that fit under the chafing dish or beverage urn and in larger containers for refilling heating appliances. In the food industry, restaurants use gel fuel on daily basis to keep the food warm and heat. Chafing Gel fuels have different burn times, depending on the manufacturer's formula and the size of the burn hole. The burn time ranges from 45 minutes or as long as six hours. Sterno is one of the major player operating in the U.S. market and hold approximately 65% of the market share. The company gel fuel cans burning time ranges from 2.5 hours to 4 hours. The prevalence of a high number of catering service providers in the U.S. including On Safari Foods, Junzi Kitchen, Sirico's Caterers, and Ravishing Radish among others are supporting the market growth during the forecast period.

The U.S. is the home for many hotels and motels for more than 91,0000 in the country. Many of them are involved in either electric or gel fuel chafing dishes to heat the food. The usage of chafing fuel will be more during the winter season due to low-temperature conditions in the Northern States of the United States. However, the government has taken some regulations in the usage of gel fuel as a firepot fuel. Based on the CPSC investigation, the majority of accidents occurred with the firepots, because they are used for decorative purposes in the houses. The chafing fuel and fireplace fuel segments are expected to register a high growth rate during the forecast period.

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U.S. Gel Fuel and Pourable Ethanol Market Growth Driver

Surge in camping activities after covid-19

Gel fuel and pourable ethanol are used in a range of camping applications which include camping stoves, campfires, and outdoor chafing fuel. It is primarily used as a fire lighting fuel that can be utilized for cooking or heating food, along with igniting the campfire during a camping activity. Superior qualities of ethanol-based gel fuel such as instant heat after ignition, smokeless, odorless flame, ease of use, low toxicity along with a relatively cheaper price make it an ideal choice as a clean source of burning fuel for multiple camping activities. According to the Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA) North American Camping Report, camping accounted for 40% of all leisure trips taken in the U.S in 2021, with around 53% of the travelers including camping in some or all of their travel. It further states that the proportion of first-time campers across the U.S. grew five-fold in 2021 compared to 2019. Furthermore, more than 86 million of the total U.S. households include campers while 48 million of those households took at least one camping trip in 2020, representing an increase of approx. 6 million in comparison to 2019.

The Major Players in this Market Include

Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the U.S. Gel fuel and pourable ethanol market. U.S. Gel fuel and pourable ethanol top players include Regal Flame, Realflame, Sterno, Moda flame, Hollowick, Ecosmart fire, Fancyheat, Terraflame, DINE-AGLOW DIABLO, and others. In April 2021, TerraFlame introduced contemporary to classic style fire features for online and retail shops which are fired by eco-friendly, smokeless, and non-toxic single-use Gel Fuel canisters.

The COVID-19 outbreak led to major economic problems and challenges for the residential, commercial, food & beverage, and other industrial sectors in the U.S.  According to the World Bank, the GDP growth of the U.S. declined by 3.4%, owing to the economic impact of COVID-19. The government of the United States announced strict measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus and only the production of essential commodities was allowed, which impacted the non-essential commodity industries, thereby impacting the production of gel fuel and parable ethanol as well. Delay in supply chain operations, raw material scarcity during pandemic along with man force shortage impacted the gel fuel production in the United States.

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