As the science behind the food additives industry continues to develop, so will the size of the market, according to a new report from US market research company Business Communications Company (BCC).
The report said that the total US market for food additives was valued at around $5 billion (€5.4bn) in 2001, and that it was likely to grow by around 3.1 per cent on average to reach $5.8 billion by 2006.
One of the principal drivers of the growth in the market will be the growing desire of consumers for food additives which are seen as 'natural' rather than 'chemical', the report said.
This is evidenced by the recent fast growth in the natural flavours market, which has outpaced that of synthetic flavours. The report said that flavour enhancers, primarily MSG, but increasingly newer and less controversial products like ribonucleotides, have also been growing steadily. Flavourings and flavour enhancers is the largest of all classes of additives, worth almost $1.25 billion in 2001 and likely to reach $1.46 billion by 2006.
The BCC study looked at other sectors of the additives market as well. The market for formulation aids - materials that influence the texture, homogeneity, and stability of foods - is worth around $1.1 billion, and consists of products such as binders, fillers, stabilisers, surfactants and thickeners. BCC predicts that it will grow at an average annual growth rate of around 2.7 per cent to reach almost $1.3 billion in 2006.
The market for calorie reduction agents can be divided into two categories: fat reducers (FRs) and non-nutritive sweeteners (NS products). This is the third largest food additive category, primarily because of the large NS market, BCC said, adding that the market had not, however, grown as rapidly as it had predicted in a 1998 report because of the slowdown in the US economy and greater competition between products. Nonetheless, the report said, the market was valued at more than a billion dollars in 2001.
The market for processing aids and others includes anticaking agents, antifoams and defoamers, bleaching/maturing agents, dough conditioners, clarifying agents and deodorisers, edible coatings, food additive enzymes, gelling agents, humectants, leavening agents, microwave browning agents, release agents, sequestrants/chelating agents and water-correcting agents. This catch-all market category was worth $535 million in 2001 and should grow to about $629 million in 2006, BCC said.
Acidulants are an old and mature group of chemicals, most of which are organic acids that add acidity and often tartness to foods. The major product in this category is citric acid, but several other acids are also popular, including lactic, malic and phosphoric acids. Acidulants are used mostly in the beverage sector, in particular in soft drinks. The US market for acidulants was worth around $410 million in 2001 and should grow at an AAGR of 3.3 per cent to $483 million by 2006.
Food colourants and adjuvants, both uncertified (natural) and certified (artificial), have grown rapidly in recent years, driven by public demand for 'natural' and less 'chemical' products, BCC said. The market is currently worth around $320 million and should grow to $371 million in 2006.
Preservatives include both antimicrobial (mostly organic acids or salts) and antioxidant products, and BCC said that natural products were growing faster than synthetic ones, even though they often do not do as good a job at low concentrations. This market is similar in size to food colourants at $321 million in 2001, and is expected to grow at an AAGR of 3 per cent to $372 million in 2006.