Although there are hundreds of known carotenoids—substances most well-known for being rich in vitamin A and for making certain fruits and vegetables red, orange or yellow—only a handful are readily recognizable to the average consumer. But rising consumer awareness about the health benefits offered by various carotenoids amidst the ongoing trend favoring healthy and natural food products have benefitted the carotenoids industry, as has the interest in natural food colorings. According to "Carotenoids: A Global Strategic Business Report
" from Global Industry Analysts (GIA), the current 2010 carotenoid market is worth an estimated $1.07 billion and is projected to top $1.2 billion by 2015.
Carotenoids produced through chemical synthesis dominate the global carotenoids market, though GIA noted that natural carotenoids were expected to find increased acceptance among consumers. Naturally derived carotenoids, rendered via fermentation, were expected to poach some market share away from the synthetic carotenoids market, “due to the increasing demand for fortified and natural food products.”
GIA stated that beta-carotene represented the largest product segment with 2010 sales estimated at $392 million. Beta-carotene’s market dominance was attributed to its well-known health benefits and its extensive use as a food-coloring agent. “The segment faces tough times owing to the consumer shift towards natural products such as carrot juice, particularly in the European market,” the report said.
The fastest growing carotenoid globally was canathaxanthin—the “preferred coloring agent for imparting red coloration to egg yolks, as well as for providing red background color in shrimp and fish.”
A swell in the number of lycopene producers in recent years caused a modest price erosion in the tomato-derived lycopene segment that enabled “moderate expansion in the North American market.”
Astaxanthin, a carotenoid used for coloring shrimp and fish, is predominantly chemically synthesized, though “astaxanthin products derived from algae are rapidly penetrating the market as antioxidant enriched supplements, due to associated health benefits,” the report stated.
Lutien’s connection to eye health was expected to benefit from an increased need for eye health supplements among the elderly. A key component in a perfect storm of rising healthcare costs, affirming research and advancements in ingredient extraction technology, GIA said the demand for lutein will continue to grow.
In terms of marquis markets, the U.S. and Europe collectively account for a major share of sales in the global carotenoids market, according to the report, with developing countries expected to perform well with stronger growth rates. “China, India, Japan and Malaysia are some of the Asian markets expected to post significant sales over the next few years,” the report said. “Asian companies are posing huge threats to European and U.S. manufacturers.”
The global market for carotenoids, GIA stated, continued to witness established players aggressively entering the developing markets to leverage substantial profits from the growing carotenoids market. DSM and BASF collectively accounted for about 55% share of the market, while DSM reigned as the world’s largest producer of synthetic carotenoids, followed by BASF. and continued to hold presence in the worldwide markets for natural and synthetic carotenoids.
GIA reported that although the food segment is expected to witness “robust growth,” driven largely by the use of carotenoids as antioxidants, the largest end-use market for carotenoids continues to be animal feed. “Astaxanthin, lutein and canthaxanthin are expected to garner popularity due to their growing utilization in animal feed and food industries. Over-the-counter (OTC) health supplements are also posting considerable growth for carotenoids due to their antioxidative properties,” the report stated.
Interestingly, the cosmeceutical market was tabbed as “landmark” as it continues to emerge as one of the “major growth drivers” for the nutraceuticals market. “Marketers keen on luring high profile businesses increasingly eye the sale of carotenoids, which offer more value for consumers’ money,” GIA found.
Japan, China and Germany were listed as the top beauty supplement marketers, while the U.S. was termed “emerging as a growing market.” China gained momentum in the race to catch up with Japan in the realm of beauty supplement sales. GIA said China’s growing affluence has helped to bolster the country’s focus on personal appearance.
The Western European region saw beauty supplements amass a “significant part” of supplements sales, thanks to their availability in a variety of retail outlets such as the health food shops in Germany.
When it comes to the U.S., beauty supplements sales were reported by GIA as “growing at faster rates as compared to other segments,” as consumers continue to look to nutraceuticals as an alternative to cosmetic surgery for maintaining a youthful look. Boosting this trend was the increased numbers of cosmeceutical ingredients offered by distributors in the food and pharmaceutical industries that promoted “the effectiveness of cosmeceuticals by scientific approach.”