The Middle East and Africa agar market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% during the forecast period (2020 - 2025).
- The strong growth in the seaweed industry of the Middle Eastern and African countries such as South Africa has resulted in increasing production of agar for various end-user industries. The end-user industries primarily food and beverage started treating agar as an important culinary ingredient as it acts as a substitute for gelatin and can be used as a thickener in soup, fruit preserves, ice cream, and other products.
- Furthermore, agar being tasteless is a perfect ingredient in the food industry as it does not interfere with the flavor of the food produced, making it suitable for a wide range of food and beverage products.
- The cost-effectiveness of agar as compared to gelatine is also one of the major factors which has triggered the growth of agar market in the region and is expected to continue gaining momentum during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Nutritional Atrritube of Agar Leading to Increased Application in Food and Beverage Sector
The increasing consumer awareness about the nutritional benefits of agar has strongly driven its demand in the food and beverage sector of the region at a faster pace. Apart from its nutritional benefits agar is used as a stabilizer and gelling agent in bakery products, water gels, confectionery, dairy products, canned meat, and fish products, soups, and sauces, and beverages. Agar being a source of calcium and iron, manufacturers are using it for fortification in various functional food and beverages to capture the interest of health-conscious consumers in the region. Furthermore, the country's retail food and beverage industry are increasing at a faster pace, which in turning is driving the application of agar extensively.
South Africa Holds a Significant Share
The South African seaweed aquaculture industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, which is one of the major factors driving the agar market in the country. Increasing demand for natural ingredients coupled with a rising inclination of consumers towards vegan/vegetarian products are factors supporting the growth of the South African agar market. The increasingly health-conscious populace is showing more inclination toward healthier substitutes in the country.
The Middle East and Africa market is highly 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, Ingredion Incorporated (TIC Gums), Gelita AG, among others.
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