Carotenoids include astaxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein and canthaxanthin, among others. There is a growing body of research into their antioxidant properties, which is driving their growth in the dietary supplements industry, particularly as western populations are aging. But they are also increasingly used as natural colors in the United States and Europe, as consumers demand that artificial colors are switched out.
GIA said that beta-carotene, which is widely used as a food color, represents the largest segment of the carotenoid market. Canthaxanthin – representing the second-largest segment – could make big gains in the market as it is increasingly used as a red coloring for shrimp and fish, the market research organization predicted, and canthaxanthin continues to be used to impart a red color to egg yolks.
“Natural carotenoids are expected to find increased acceptance among consumers, taking share away from the synthetic carotenoids market, due to the increasing demand for fortified and natural food products,” GIA said.
Indeed, demand for natural food ingredients has remained strong, and ‘natural’ was the top label claim on newly launched food and beverage products in 2009, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, appearing on 23 percent of new product launches.
Although the US and Europe currently represent the largest markets for carotenoids, developing countries are expected to rapidly grow their market share in the coming years. Asian manufacturers could pose “huge threats” to European and US manufacturers, GIA said, while strong growth is expected in Asian markets, including China, India, Japan and Malaysia.
In addition, the market researcher said that the advent of fermentation processes for natural carotenoids is also expected to significantly affect trends in the market.
“The method is likely to gain popularity in the future,” it said.