The market for fat replacers will reach 280,100 metric tons, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.03 percent predicted between 2011 and 2015, says the "Fat Replacers: A US Market Report" by Global Industry Analysts (GIA). While considerable growth is forecast in the meat and dairy sector, as low-calorie and reduced-fat foods gain in popularity, fat-based fat replacers are expected to see a decline because of health concerns related to olestra, a top-selling fat-based fat replacer, says the report. According to the analysts: "Fat replacers industry is expected to expand further from the development of several new formulation systems and likely health benefits of fat replacers. "[The] protein-based fat replacers market is anticipated to take some of the thunder of [the] carbohydrate-based fat replacers market over the coming years, as the demand is increasing for low-fat foods with high nutritional content and low calories." Although health trends, ageing populations and changes in eating habits are predicted by the analysts to be the prime drivers for market growth, the industry is facing many challenges. A decelerating of general economics, competitive pressures, reduced margins and increasing competition from emerging markets are expected to pose difficulties for the sector. Fat replacer demand Over 300m adults are obese worldwide, representing a three-fold increase since the 1980s, according to latest statistics from the WHO and the International Obesity Task Force. As national governments get increasingly involved in health initiatives and consumers become more and more aware of the importance of healthy eating, food manufacturers are responding by reducing fat in their products, as well as reforming in other ways, such as cutting salt and sugar contents. Fat replacers can either be carbohydrate-based (starch-based or hydrocolloid-based), protein-based or fat-based. The market for protein-based fat replacers is expected to reach $195.51m by 2012, and volume sales of carbohydrate-based ones are forecast to reach 222,080 metric tons by 2015, according to GIA. Industry fat replacer launches At the end of 2006, hydrocolloid firm Gum Technology introduced a new fat replacer, designed specifically to interact with the milk proteins present in dairy goods to cut fat by up to 10 percent in milk-based products. An extension to the company's Coyote Brand Stabilizer line, the dairy fat replacer contained cellulose gel (microcrystalline cellulose), konjac, sodium alginate, and xanthan, as well as soluble and insoluble fibre. The gum blend could be used at different concentrations in order to work in a variety of dairy applications. In low concentrations it is suitable for products such as milkshakes. In higher concentrations it could be used for mousse, whipped cream, custards and creamy sauces. The same year, Cargill developed an ingredient to help food manufacturers replace the pork fat used in many meat products with restructured vegetable fat. The solution, called Adrogel GR, was claimed to be ideal for use as a Halal alternative to pork meat-based ingredients, and aimed to tap the market potential of 1.5 bn Muslims worldwide. The previous year, FiberGel Technologies launched its oat Z-Trim and soy Z-Trim fat replacer in Ameica. Z-Trim, according to the manufacturers, was a natural, zero calorie fat replacement that reduces calories and increases healthy insoluble fiber in a variety of products without altering the food's original taste.