German-based ingredients firm Nutrinova has announced a double-digit price hike for its sorbate range of additives, used increasingly by global food developers to preserve food products such as confectionery and baked goods.
From today, the firm's sorbic acid, potassium sorbate and calcium sorbate will be, on average, 15 per cent more expensive.
Sorbates are chemical preservatives used extensively in the rapidly growing $600 billion global processed foods to stop moulds and yeasts damaging primarily high-moisture and high-sugar foods.
Against a backdrop of higher raw material costs, higher selling prices for certain ingredients will counter-balance this rise in costs, serving to increase margins and improve profitability for the firm that also makes the industry-wide high intensity sweetener brand Sunnett.
The food protection market is currently enjoying decent growth because shelf life longevity and preservation are key concerns for food and beverage manufacturers operating into today's increasingly 'convenient' food culture.
Market analysts Global Information pitch the global food preservative market at $517.9 billion (€422.7 billion) reaching $634.3 billion by 2008 thanks to a buoyant annual growth rate of 4.1 per cent. In the US, growth in food preservatives will push 5.5 per cent rising to $257.7 billion in 2008 from $196.8 billion last year.
While chemically synthetic preservatives are viewed with some suspicion by consumers, 'natural' chemical preservatives are growing in both stature and respect. In 2003, the chemical preservation industry was led by the sorbates, with annual sales of $162 million in the US, or approximately 53 per cent of all sales of chemical and natural preservatives.
With a value of $143 million and a 58 per cent slice of the food preservative market, sorbates dominated the sector. Global Information estimates sales for preservatives in 2003 at $306.3 million, with a 2.2 per cent annual growth rate, while total production came in at $330 million, on a modest 2.1 per cent yearly rise until 2008.
Nutrinova did not disclose further details regarding the price rise for the free flowing white powders produced at its production plants near Frankfurt in Germany.
Last week the company's owner, Celanese Chemicals, quashed rumours that the €4.1 billion firm was having difficulties in finding a buyer for the ingredients business, stating that there were no plans to sell the German firm.
"Nutrinova is currently a good business with beautiful results, it makes sense to keep it in the company," a spokesperson for Celanese Chemicals told FoodNavigator.com last week.