The great hope of marine life

Photo of a Turtle Underwater

The huge potential of the richness of marine world has in fact taken care of their daily dietary requirements of human beings, on a daily basis… this report is about exploring one such possible!

The Marine ecosystem is lively and complex with a vast potential beyond human understanding. This ecosystem is one of the most productive bio-diversities providing a variety of helpful resources, the applications of which go beyond basic dietary needs.

It is a colloidal substance obtained from a purplish-brown, cartilaginous seaweed, primarily used as an emulsifying and stabilizing ingredient in foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.

What are the market sentiments for Carrageenan?

A report by a market research firm estimated that the global carrageenan market value at USD 762.35 million in 2016. Carrageenan has around 13.3% share of the global food & beverage hydrocolloids market.

Today, natural ingredients account for one-third of the total food & beverage marketplace. There’s an increasing demand observed globally, for natural additives in processed foods to satisfy the clean label requirement. This specific trend has been a vital driver for the overall carrageenan market, as it is recognized by different regulatory bodies’ world over as a non-synthetic food additive.

Synthetic (artificial) additives are more economical, readily available and effective in function, and thus, they are preferred over natural additives by food manufacturers. Nonetheless, the growing health-consciousness associated with economic empowerment has enabled consumers to opt for natural alternatives even though they are costly.

There are three main types of carrageenan: kappa, iota, and lambda, based on elemental differences that are commercially employed. The widely prevalent type on the market is the kappa, which is being increasingly utilized in the food business, where it functions as a bodying agent, stabilizer, and emulsifier in meat and dairy products.

There are three major application areas of carrageenan: food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics. The food industry leads the market with applications in dairy, meat, drinks, etc.. There are three most important functional roles exhibited by carrageenan as a food additive: Firstly, it is widely used as a thickening agent, particularly in low-carb or no-fat foods, such as cottage cheese or sour cream, and as a substitute for fat. Carrageenan thickens foods making them with a fuller taste.

The second important functional role of carrageenan is that of being used as a stabilizing agent for drinks, like chocolate milk or shakes, which separate if they are not shaken. Carrageenan can also be used as a gelling agent, particularly in dairy and confectionery products, to allow them to stay firm for longer and retain their shape.

Regionally, Asia-Pacific and Europe are considered as the primary markets for carrageenan due to the increasing demand for processed food and meat products in Asia-Pacific and the high preference given by Europeans to dairy products, respectively. Moreover, Asia-Pacific is poised to dominate the global market for carrageenan using a lion-share by 2022, owing to the high cultivation rate of carrageenan producing seaweeds and low cost of labor.

Extra resources Main Hurdles for the Economy – Carrageenan as a food additive, faced a major setback recently in the United States, where many food manufacturers decided to stop using it as a food additive, particularly in infant formulas owing to its carcinogenic potential.

In some animal studies, the additive has been associated with destructive gastrointestinal issues, including inflammatory bowel disease and possibly even tumor generation. Thus, the associated safety concern among the customers is restricting the growth of the global carrageenan marketplace.

Way Ahead: The growth trajectory of the carrageenan market is forecast to be moderate in the not too distant future, if not large, as the available choices aren’t as effective as carrageenan, especially in the meat and meat industries. Carrageenan exhibits excellent ability to bind with water and the syneresis control is important in processed meats. Moreover, a unique property of carrageenan is its ability to interact with milk proteins, which form a particularly strong bond with carrageenan.

The principal regulatory agencies of the world (US FDA, FAO/WHO JECFA, EU EFSA, etc.) continue to approve the usage of carrageenan as a food additive due to its natural source, in addition to its extensive, well-established, and safety profile, which is evident from its decade-long application. The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has concluded that the use of food-grade carrageenan in infant formula, at concentrations up to 1,000 milligrams per liter, is”not of concern.”

Thus, a more pro-active approach in utilizing this food additive, by maintaining a safety margin by manifold, coupled with a clean label assurance, will pave the way for its sustainable market growth.

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