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The global commercial seaweed market size was USD 14.11 billion in 2020. The COVID-19 crisis has led to the slowing down of the year-on-year growth of this market. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of 5.85% YOY growth in 2020. This could be mainly attributed to the decrease in the demand for raw materials and reduced prices. The market is projected to grow from USD 15.01 billion in 2021 to USD 24.92 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 7.51% during the analysis period from 2021 to 2028. The rise in CAGR is attributable to WHO’s highlighting of the importance of seaweed as an effective means of protecting people from the coronavirus.
Over the past few years, the utilization of hydrocolloids such as carrageenan, alginate, and agar has increased in the food industry, animal feed, pharmaceuticals, and other industries. This has led to the escalation in algae production and soaring demand for commercial seaweed. In addition to this, health benefits associated with the consumption of macro algae products are motivating people to include commercial algae in their daily food.
Reduced Demand from End-use Applications amid COVID-19 to Restrict Growth
Seaweed farmers experienced a negative impact amidst the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the reduced demand for agricultural productivity of macro algae as a raw material. The reduced price of raw materials due to the decline in demand affected the commercial seaweed market growth. However, an increasing number of studies explaining that certain compounds of macro algae might be helpful in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus has increased the interest in macro algae globally. The growing demand for healthy and safe foods to maintain overall health and wellness is expected to propel the growth of the market in the forthcoming years.
According to Current Science’s research article on “Can sulphated polysaccharides from seaweed provide prophylactic and/or therapeutic solution to COVID-19 pandemic?”; many polysaccharides isolated from red and green algae were evaluated for antiviral characteristics; it was found that the viral entry to the human body was blocked.
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Growing Focus on Environmental Sustainability to Favor Seaweed Cultivation
Over the past few years, people around the world have become aware of the environmental issues that are leading to the development of solutions to reduce environmental stress. The growing awareness regarding environmental welfare has caused significant changes in consumer preferences that are propelling the demand for sustainable products. Macro algae cultivation is considered sustainable as it is a fast-growing, nutrient-rich alga that absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. The growing demand for macro algae production is further attributed to the rising popularity of veganism and plant-based products that support animal welfare. According to the press release of Proveg International Organization, the global plant-based meat stood at USD 12.1 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% during the period from 2019 to 2025.
Increasing Adoption of Commercial Seaweed as Hydrocolloids to Propel Market Growth
The demand for seaweed from the food industry across the globe is rising due to its product efficiency in adding nutritional value to food products. For instance, earlier, it was mostly consumed in Asia countries; however, due to the spread of the Asian population in countries such as the U.S., France, and Canada, macro algae are used as a food ingredient or added freshly. Additionally, several seaweed-produced hydrocolloids are used to increase the thickness and stability of food products. It is further utilized to form gels and water-soluble films. Alginate, agar, and carrageenan are the most common macro alage extracts. They are used as gelling, stabilizing, emulsifying, and thickening agents in various food products, such as ice-creams, jams, fruit juices, bakery products, and others.
Seaweeds being a rich source of biochemicals, such as amino acids, proteins, lipids, vitamins, polysaccharides, peptides, and minerals, aid in increasing the functionality of food products. This is expected to drive the market growth in the forthcoming years.
Increasing Consumption of Plant-based Products to Surge Demand
The growing awareness about animal welfare has accelerated the tread of turning vegan or following a vegetarian diet, which has further increased consumption of plant-based products. These products are gaining popularity across several sectors such as the food and cosmetics industry with the evolving perception that plant-based products are safer & healthier compared to animal-originated products. Macro algae being a good source of protein, is now extensively utilized to develop plant-based protein alternatives, which is fueling the growth of this market. For instance, in June 2020, a French-based bio marine ingredient company invested USD 2.4 million to develop a new range of seaweed-based solutions in order to create plant-based substitutes.
High Cost of Seaweed Cultivation to Impede Market Growth
In recent years, water pollution has increased significantly due to the mixing of toxic waste chemicals and plastics from industrial effluents. This poses many challenges in harvesting from ocean beds, thereby increasing the final cost of algae in the market. The high cost of cultivation is expected to impede the market growth. In January 2018, for instance, Alltech closed its algae production facility in Kentucky considering the operational efficiency of the business unit. However, increasing government interventions to support the cultivation and harvesting of macro algae to cater to the growing demand for macro algae in the food industry is expected to help farmers and manufacturers to overcome this challenge.
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Red Seaweed Segment Holds the Major Market Share Attributed to Wide Application & Easy Availability
Based on type, the market includes red, brown, & green. The red algae segment dominates the market owing to its tremendous functional properties. It contains a high amount of proteins and vitamins that make it a great source of alternative proteins. Red algae is primarily used for the production of carrageenan, which itself is used as a food source along with extensive application in food processing.
Green algae contains a high amount of beta-carotene, which has been shown to be effective in preventing cancer. The growing demand for dietary supplements in the form of tablets and capsules of green algae is projected to increase its demand over the forecast period.
Brown algae is expected to showcase a promising growth on account of its growing consumption in Asian countries. In countries such as China and Japan, it is consumed with coconut milk, crushed ice, and jelly.
Seaweed Powders to Hold Major Share Backed by Easy Storage & Simple Utilization
Seaweed powders are widely utilized in both the food and cosmetics industries. Powders are easy to transport and store. The process of converting macro algae extracts to powder removes water and helps to increase its shelf life. Seaweed powder is sold in retail markets as a cosmetic product as well as a dietary supplement. The increasing consumption of plant proteins and vegan products is expected to spike the demand for seaweed powders in the food industry.
Liquid macro algae extracts are witnessing substantial growth owing to their increasing utilization in functional beverages & cosmetics.
Food & Beverage Segment to Lead Supported by Growing Food Applications
The emerging applications of seaweed in food products primarily drive segmental growth. Food & beverage industry stakeholders have recognized the biomass originating from algae as an alternative protein source to fulfill the global protein demand. The growing consumption of vegan products is also expected to further contribute to the growth of the market.
The cosmetics and personal care segment is expected to experience strong growth due to the recently growing demand for antioxidant-rich cosmetic products such as body lotions, moisturizing soaps, shampoos, and creams. In March 2019, for example, French beauty and cosmetic brand Algotherm made its regional presence in India by launching a wide range of beauty products made from Algohydra. The company launched several creams, face masks, gels, and face serums.
Asia Pacific Commercial Seaweed Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)
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Asia Pacific holds the major commercial seaweed market share with a value of USD 10.73 billion in 2020. The increasing adoption of commercial type of algae in traditional cuisines of various countries such as China, Japan, and Vietnam has elevated its global demand over the past few years. The growing demand for macro algae from the foodservice sector also propels market growth in the region. The rising popularity of plant-based cosmetics and personal care products among consumers are further expected to fuel market growth in the forthcoming years.
North America is expected to experience considerable growth due to the surging demand for plant-based products in the region. U.S. seaweed market dominated the North American region. The rising popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets in the region has increased the demand for plant proteins across a range of food products. The increasing popularity of functional food and beverages has further elevated the utilization of algae in various products. Ongoing developments and technological advancements in the cultivation and harvesting of algae are expected to drive the growth of the market in the region.
The European market is expected to exhibit steady growth as compared to other regions. Edible seaweeds such as chlorella and spirulina help capitalize on the new trends of plant-based protein consumption in Europe. The demand for high-quality and natural supplements in the region is creating an opportunity for various seaweed pharmaceutical industry suppliers hailing from the developing countries of APAC. The increasing consumer shift towards vegan diets further aids in the consumption of seaweed in these regions. In Europe, the imports of edible algae decreased by 66% from 2014-2018 due to the lack of supply. This is expected to contribute to the market growth during the forecast period.
South American market for commercial seaweed is projected to witness stable growth owing to its vast geographical area including various oceanic domains. The primary seaweed production in South America is based on the harvesting of natural beds. The market in the region holds remarkable opportunities with the improvement of farming methodologies, the development of new strains, and the expansion of farming activities.
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The market in the Middle East & Africa is still at the nascent stage. Green algae is one of the important aquaculture products in South Africa. The market is expected to experience steady growth attributed to the rising demand for green algae in dietary supplements and cosmetics.
Cargill, Inc. to Invest in Innovation & Expansion of Products to Strengthen Market Presence
The leading player Cargill is focusing on investing in innovation & expansion to ensure long-term sustainable red algae supply chain solutions. For instance, in February 2019, the company launched a new sustainability program, Red algae Promise, that addresses sustainability challenges for the cultivation and harvesting of red algae. The presence of a few major players and their extended production and distribution capabilities has resulted in a highly consolidated global market for commercial seaweed. Other key players such as DowDuPont, Inc., J.M. Huber, and Corbion N.V. are focusing on facility expansions, innovation of novel processing techniques, and partnerships to strengthen their positions in the market.
An Infographic Representation of Commercial Seaweed Market
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The global commercial seaweeds market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading application areas of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into market trends and highlights key microalgae industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.
Value (USD Billion)
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 14.11 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 24.92 billion by 2028.
Growing at a CAGR of 7.51%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).
The red seaweed type segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
The rising utilization of seaweeds in various cosmetics and personal care products drives the demand for seaweed extracts.
Cargill Inc., Kerry Group, and DowDupont are the major players in the market.
Asia Pacific dominated the market share in 2020.
Consumer inclination towards plant-based food products is expected to drive the market’s growth.
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