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The global market for starch and starch derivatives is driven by strong demand from various end-user sectors, specifically the food & beverages along with pharmaceutical industries. The growing demand for convenience foods has necessitated the use of starch and its derivatives. Additionally, the functional superiority of modified starches has rapidly expanded its application spectrum across the diverse range of applications.
Starches are increasingly utilized as food additive - right from thickening of sauces, molding of gums, viscosity-control agent to the binding of baking ingredients, the functional properties of starches are an important contributing factor for its sales performance. The stiff competition from starch-substitutes is acting as a major restraint for the starch and starch derivatives market. There is a significant untapped opportunity in free-from starches owing to their demand in free-from food products.
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Starches are basically polymeric carbohydrates playing a vital role in the human diet. It is renewable and biodegradable material primarily extracted from agricultural commodities. In food processing applications, starches contribute to textural improvements, moisture control, and stabilization.
There are majorly two types of starches – native starches which are pure forms of starch obtained from corn, wheat, potato, rice, cassava, and tapioca. Modified starch or starch derivatives are an altered form of starches with a high degree of processability. The global marketplace has exhibited solid demand for gluten-free products, this has increased the utilization of starch and its derivatives for sensory and nutritional roles.
Key market players performing in global starch and starch derivatives market include Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Grain Processing Corp, Ingredion Inc., Roquette, Tereos Starch & Sweeteners s.a.s., Tate & Lyle, and Agrana Group. Manufacturers are rapidly expanding their portfolio of clean-label starches in order to cater to the growing demand for healthy free-from, organic 'natural' and indulgent food products.
Starches such as glucose syrup are extensively utilized in food and beverages applications. Apart from its role as a bulk sweetener, it also acts as a vehicle/carrier for different medicines. Maltodextrin, a type of starch derivative is expected to exhibit strong sales in the foreseeable future owing to its multifunctional roles such as binder, viscosity provider, fat replacer and bulking agent to name but a few. The use of maltodextrin in dry mix food applications such as infant formula, sports drinks, etc. is expected to provide further traction to its growth in the foreseeable future.
Among the end-uses, the food and beverage followed by pharmaceutical sectors are driving the demand scenario of starch and its derivatives. The paper manufacturing sector is another leading application sector utilizing significant quantities of primary and modified starches. In fact, papermaking is the largest non-food application for starches globally. Coated paper with improved printing traits is experiencing greater demand globally thereby fuelling the market sentiment for starch and starch derivatives.
The improved performance of starch and its derivatives after the global financial collapse of 2008 is attributed to its robust production and consumption scenario particularly from countries in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
Asia-Pacific region is also experiencing decent demand for starch derivatives in pharmaceutical applications. China, India, and Japan are at the forefront of this regional development. The non-toxic and non-irritant properties of starch derivatives along with the cost-competitiveness is driving the regional growth.
The Middle East region is emerging as one of the promising markets for starch and starch derivatives shaped by rapidly changing demographics and rising consumer demand for high quality and convenient food products. The large cassava sector of Africa has a strong potential in making the region a self-sufficient in the production of native and modified starches. The major demand is expected to come from sweeteners industry.
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