Report finds hydrocolloids as fat replacers fuel additives growth

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: E number, Edible thickening agents

The hydrocolloids market has seen double digit growth rates between 2005 and 2009, with their fat replacer applications being boosted by the global health and wellness trend, according to a new Leatherhead report.

Emulsion stabilizers, suspending agents, gelling agents, thickeners, fibre sources, mouthfeel improvers, fat replacers and processing aids all come under the umbrella of hydrocolloids, with the report Key Players in the Global Additives Industry​, showing growth has generally been highest in sectors such as gelatine and pectin.

The researchers note that pectin, in particular, is coming to be appreciated for its versatile qualities in a category that now accounts for 17 per cent of global food additives market, and was valued at $4.2bn in 2009.

The price and availability of some hydrocolloids remain volatile for many reasons due to issues of capacity, grade or country of origin, with the Leatherhead researchers citing recent hikes in raw material, transportation and energy costs as the main factors.

The most frequently used hydrocolloids in the confectionery and other food categories include: agar, alginates, arabic, carrageenan, Carboxy Methyl Cellulose (CMC), gelatine, konjac flour, locust bean gum (LBG), Methyl Cellulose and hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose (MC/HPMC), microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), pectin, starch and Xanthan.

Main players

The report identifies the major players in the hydrocolloids category and apart from the starch and gelatine sectors, the analysts note, the remainder of the market is considerably fragmented.

The publication shows that Cargill leads the international starch market, mainly as a result of its ownership of the former Cerestar operations, with its key rivals including Tate & Lyle, Roquette, Avebe and ADM.

But the global gelatine industry is now headed by Gelita, which accounts for 27 per cent of the world market, and its closest rival is Rousselot, with a 25 per cent share and occupies a leading position in both the European and Asia-Pacific regions.

In third place, is the Belgian-based Tessenderlo Group, whose business includes gelatine producers PB Gelatins and PB Leiner. Other important suppliers include Weishardt of France, Italgelatine of Italy and Nitta Gelatin of Japan, report the researchers.

Danisco supplies several key varieties of gum, as well as pectin, carrageenan and ceullulose derivatives. Cargill represents one of its main competitors in sectors such as pectin and xanthan gum, largely as a result of its acquisition of Degussa’s interests in this area.

Other notable producers include CP Kelco and FMC BioPolymer, both of which are present within the market for carrageenan and cellulose derivatives, while the former accounts for 40 per cent of global sales of pectin.

Asian sourcing

Many sectors of the gums industry are reliant on raw material from natural sources in Asia, as a result of which a number of local businesses have emerged as key forces in global markets.

“This has been apparent in countries such as India, Pakistan and parts of Africa. In a similar vein, the Philippines is a major supply source for carrageenan, which means that some local companies feature in the market at a global level.”

Starch outlook

Meanwhile, according to an industry expert, Corn Products International’s recent $1.3bn acquisition of National Starch is unlikely to have an impact on the hydrocolloids industry as a whole, as starches are in ‘a field of their own’.

Hydrocolloids expert and marketing consultant at IMR International Dennis Seisun last month told our sister site FoodNavigator-USA.com that other hydrocolloids market players were unlikely to do things differently as a result of the acquisition and that there is unlikely to be a major effect for the world of hydrocolloids as a whole.

There are two reasons for this – cost and labelling, he explained.

“If someone is using starch and it’s working, there’s unlikely to be a cost-effective alternative from one of the other hydrocolloids. Secondly, there’s image: It would be a negative move to take starch off the label and replace it with another hydrocolloid…Starch and gelatine are two hydrocolloids that generally are in a field of their own.”

More information on Leatherhead’s new report Key Players in the Global Additives Industry ​is available fromhttp://www.leatherheadfood.com​ .

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