Report ranks food ingredient leaders by revenue

Related tags Leatherhead food research Food additive Food processing

Cargill, Südzucker and Tate & Lyle are ranked as the three leading global food ingredient companies, according to a listing based on annual turnover.

A recent report from UK-based Leatherhead Food Research profiles 33 companies in a variety of food additive sectors and ranks them on annual sales recorded between 2008-2010.

The 4th edition of Key Players in the Global Additives Industry ​identifies US-based Cargill as the overall global leader even though only a relatively small proportion ($30bn) of its $116.6bn sales are products for the food industry.

In terms of revenue, the next largest players are BASF ($70.8bn), ADM ($69.2bn), ABF ($14.4bn), Ajinomoto ($12.5bn) and DSM ($10.9bn).

However, in many of these cases, food ingredients and additives account for a relatively small share of the companies’ total sales.

Sector leaders

“If turnover is limited solely to food additives and ingredients, Cargill still represents the sector leader,” ​writes Leatherhead. “Some of its closest rivals (prior to the recent merger and acquisition activity which took place during the early summer of 2010) include Südzucker and Tate & Lyle, for whom food ingredients and additives make up almost their entire turnover.”

“At the other end of the ranking, companies such as CP Kelco, T Hasegawa and Gelita have annual revenues worth well under $1bn per annum.”

The researcher points out that the diverse businesses of the companies profiled makes it impossible to present an entirely accurate and definitive list of leading food additive firms as many of them also supply other industries or may not provide sector-specific break-downs in their financial reporting.

“It is mainly for this reason that the companies profiled in this report have been selected as being those with the greatest impact within the additives industry, either through their overall size and diversified product offering or through strong market share in their own specific areas of interest,”​ writes Leatherhead.


It adds that some of the companies in its report have seen an erosion of their market share by producers in emerging countries, particularly China. “This has been especially apparent in sectors such as vitamins, and the trend is expected to continue.”

Companies profiled in the report have their headquarters either in the US, Europe or Japan. 20 of the firms have their headquarters in Western Europe, nine are based in the US and four in Japan.

Overall, Leatherhead estimates that the global food additives market was worth US$25.44bn in 2009, up more than 11 per cent on its 2005 value.

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