The European protein ingredients market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.9 per cent to reach over $9 billion by 2007, claim market analysts Frost & Sullivan this week. They predict that the market for protein ingredient manufacturers will be tougher as food manufacturers look to substitute animal proteins with plant proteins. This is combined with the increasing consumer desire for GM free soya proteins and the requirement of manufacturers to increase the functional and nutraceutical properties of these products. Anna Ibbotson, Food Industry Analyst with Frost & Sullivan said, "BSE and foot and mouth disease have totally transformed the protein ingredient market … food manufacturers have substituted animal proteins wherever possible in order to attract a consumer cautious of animal product consumption. At the same time, food manufacturers are demanding products with increased functionality, in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs and with nutraceutical properties to support marketing activities." Proteins have become a vital ingredient for the food industry, Frost & Sullivan continue. They bring all the essential amino acids needed for the growth and health of the human body combined with an array of functional properties. A range of protein ingredients of vegetable and animal origin are available in the market and the report is segmented by protein type. According to the report fish proteins, used mainly in animal feeds are the largest segment by volume accounting for 33 per cent of the total European protein ingredient market. Egg proteins are the largest sector in terms of revenue accounting for $2.35 billion in 2000. They have excellent functional and nutritional value and are subject to intensive R&D in an effort to increase product range and offer products tailored to meet specific client needs. Milk proteins are used for their functional and nutritional properties and the ability to texture food without impacting taste. Next to gelatine they are the most versatile proteins. The rise in demand for technological proteins will remain a strong driver for the milk protein market. Frost & Sullivan stressed that market growth for gelatine, derived from bones and hides, will be restrained as a result of BSE and foot and mouth. Meat proteins used as flavouring and emulsifier are also subject to the continuing farm crises. Soya protein, according to the report, is the most important plant-based protein market in Europe. However, it suffered a backlash from the consumer during the late nineties due to the fear of GM crop contamination and manufacturers turned to other protein sources in a bid to maintain revenues. Frost & Sullivan add that pulse proteins are hampered as an alternative owing to production constraints and single cell proteins, predominantly used in the baking and brewing industry, are held back from use in other applications by their strong taste & smell. Full findings can be found in the Frost & Sullivan report, the European Protein Ingredients Market.