The Asia-Pacific agar market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period (2020 - 2025).
- The agar market is driven by a growing inclination towards vegan diets, the functional efficiency, the cost competitiveness offered by such plant-sourced food ingredients, and their increasing utilization in a wide variety of processed foods, especially in the bakery and confectionery products as a thickening and stabilizing agent.
- Key applications of food agar include usage in confectionery, dairy, desserts, bakery, meat products, and beverages. The confectionery segment incorporates the highest usage of agar among other segments in the country.
- Owing to nutritional attributes of agar such as high fiber, calcium and iron content, the pharmaceutical industry as well as a functional food and beverage industry is incorporating agar in its product offerings. Thus, the varied application and functionality of agar are boosting its growth in the region.
Key Market Trends
Growing Veganism Trend in the Region
The region has the largest share of plant-based consumers globally, perhaps influenced by religious practices in southeast Asian countries. Asian countries such as China have high production of seaweed and is highly cost-effective as compared to gelatine, which in turn has increased its application in various food products in the region. According to FAO, in 2016, the total seaweed production in China, Japan, and the Korean peninsula together reached 16,218,406 tons, approximately 53.8% of global seaweed production. The development in seaweed farming in eastern Asia has contributed significantly to the agar industry in terms of improving both the yield and the quality of the products produced. The high production of seaweed and increasing veganism trend in the region is driving the agar market in the region.
India is the Fastest Growing Market
India is expected to have the highest growth rate during the forecast period owing to the growing preference for vegan products. In India agar is actively being used in the preparation of jellies, dairy products such as yogurts, confectionery of the jelly/marshmallow type, bakery products, including pie fillings and icings, and canned meats. In India, it is widely used in vegetarian deserts also such as faluda and blancmange. The increasing application of agar in different end-user industries has significantly increased the production of agar (derived from seaweed species) which in turn is providing income opportunities to many fishing communities, particularly the women, who harvest the seaweed from coastal waters in the country.
The Asia-Pacific market is hghly fragmented due to the presence of numerous domestic as well as foreign players in the region. New product development and capacity expansion are the two key success strategies adhered to by market participants. Some of the major players in the Middle East and Africa agar market, include Merck KGaA, HISPANAGAR, Norevo GmbH, Meron Group, Gelita AG, among others.
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