New analysis from Frost & Sullivan suggests that revenues generated by natural antioxidants in the European shelf-life extension food additives market are set to exceed those of synthetic equivalents, mainly due to the rising consumer preference for natural ingredients in food products. A new trend has emerged, however, due to spiralling commodity prices and raw material shortages. Manufacturers have started to blend different antioxidants to minimise cost.
The company forecasts the market to more than double in coming years, from revenues of $103.6 million in 2011 to $246.1 million in 2018. The research covers natural antioxidants including vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) and herbal extracts (rosemary extract) as well as synthetic antioxidants such as hindered phenols, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), gallates (propyl gallates), and ascorbyl palmitate.
Consumer perception that natural products are healthy, has underlined the significant shift toward the use of more natural antioxidants such as mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) and rosemary extracts, rather than synthetic antioxidants, Frost & Sullivan said.
"However, naturally derived antioxidants are experiencing a huge rise in price," said Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials and Foods Research Analyst Ashwin Raj Ravinder. "As a result, the trend of blending different antioxidants is gaining appeal."
Blending allows suppliers to partially replace natural antioxidants. The process includes blending rosemary extracts, for example, with mixed tocopherols and ascorbyl palmitate, which is synthetic. Blending antioxidants provides a less expensive product of equal quality and efficacy.
Raw materials needed to manufacture antioxidants are scarce, which affects the natural Vitamin E segment. The reduced volume production of mixed tocopherols, results in a prevalence of alternate sources due to price increases.
"Vertical integration will be crucial to overcoming challenges related to the dearth in raw materials," said Ravinder. "Strategic partnerships and alliances with raw material suppliers too are vital to gain market share, especially in the natural shelf-life extension food additives market."