With the increasing emphasis by consumers and regulators on food safety, and the prospect of costly recalls, fines and brand damage, processors are constantly on the lookout for quicker and cheaper ways of preventing bacterial contamination of their products.
US demand for food safety products will increase 5.5 per cent per year to over $2bn in 2010, according to market research by Freedonia.
"Strong gains will result from the development of new products, renewed federal efforts to eliminate foodborne illness outbreaks, concern over the arrival of avian influenza in North America, and the development of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS)," the company stated in a new report released yesterday.
The fastest growth will be in smart labels and tags segment due to a combination of NAIS implementation and attempts by companies to improve traceability throughout their supply chains.
Smart labels and tags demand will grow by about 10.8 per cent annually to reach $220m by 2010 due to the development of the NAIS, which will allow the government to trace the origin of any meat product within 48 hours.
Traceability issues will also help drive software growth at an above average pace. In the longer term, advances both in software and in smart labels and tags are expected to accelerate even further. As the technology matures, food processing and distribution companies are expected to increase deployments to achieve additional supply chain management efficiencies, Freedonia stated.
Meanwhile disinfection products, led by continued strong gains in disinfection equipment, will provide opportunities for product developers and continue to account for the majority of demand from food processors.
The segment is expected to grow by 5.6 per cent annually to reach a $945m market by 2010, according to the firm's forecast.
Disinfection products currently dominate the food safety product market, led by disinfection and sanitation chemicals , which are used at all levels of food production, processing, preparation and sale.
"Healthy growth in disinfectants and sanitizers will continue due to increasing recognition of the economic risks associated with a well-publicized foodborne illness incident," Freedonia stated.
The primary driver of disinfectant product gains, however, will be new types of disinfection equipment as companies -- particularly in the beverage industry -- seek reliable, non-chemical means of ensuring that contamination risks are minimized.
Diagnostic products will also experience healthy gains as new rapid testing technologies allow companies to increase testing frequency while reducing inventory hold times for tested products.
The market for preservatives will moderate to 2.9 per cent annual growth due to market maturity, as well as new pasteurization and packaging technologies that minimize the need for preservatives, the firm stated.
"The continued development of the organic food movement, which is becoming more mainstream, will also restrain gains in preservatives," Freedonia stated.
The proposed national animal identification system (NAIS) would require tagging to identify specific animals in the US and record their movement over their lifespans. It would also allow regulators to trace an animal's movement over a 48-hour period it eventually became sick or exposed to a sick animal.