Price hike for ISP alginate range

By Lindsey Partos

- Last updated on GMT

Raw material costs start to bite as alginate supplier International
Specialty announces price rises on all its alginates-based products
from 1 November this year.

Alginates, gums used extensively by the food industry to thicken, gel and bind products such as ice cream and desserts, are derived from alginic acid obtained from brown seaweed (kelp).

But in the past year, higher demand on stocks, spurred by growing needs from Asia Pacific, has pushed up costs for the raw material from between 20 to 30 per cent.

Prices at ISP will rise by 7 per cent price on all alginates, to include food and pharma products, effective 1 November 2005, an ISP spokesperson tells

The firm emphasised that is has reduced costs in many areas - for example, more efficient buying and processing of alginates - in a bid to absorb the impact of price rises.

In June this year the firm shut down activities at its San Diego plant, shifting production to Scotland. After 76 years in operation, the San Diego plant represented the country's largest kelp harvesting facility.

Known for its high growth rate, kelp grows in underwater forests, up to 30 cm per day and to a total length of up to 60 metres.

The ISP plant in San Diego, acquired in 1999, processed about 30,000 to 40,000 tons of kelp annually.

But the harvesting business in the US has been hurt in recent years by a rise in the cost of fuel, labour and raw materials.

ISP, that secures supplies in Iceland, Ireland and Chile, warned this week that the weight of higher energy costs have also exacerbated an "already difficult trading environment."

Price pressures mean that the firm is also "reviewing other product lines, for example carrageenan"​said ISP.

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