ISP raises prices across alginate range

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

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Alginate supplier International Specialty Products (ISP) is the
latest ingredients firm to hike up its prices, announcing the
implementation of the new levels as of
November 1.

Like many of its competitors, ISP is feeling the pinch of higher raw material and energy costs, and has again resorted to passing some of these on to customers.

The firm said prices will increase 10-15 percent for all its propylene glycol alginates.

The increases will affect customers globally and will be implemented at the start of next month, or as contracts allow.

ISP, which would not respond to's calls for further information, published a brief statement on its website citing "the continuing escalation in the cost of seaweed feedstocks, chemical raw materials, energy, and ocean freight, and in product stewardship expenses," as pressures forcing it to up its ingredient prices.

Alginates are gums used extensively by the food industry to thicken, gel and bind products such as ice cream and desserts.

They are derived from alginic acid obtained from brown seaweed (kelp), which has seen prices shooting up over recent years.

Other alginate suppliers are facing the same plight, with FMC Biopolymer also saying it will raise its prices as of November.

The company said its microcrystalline cellulose and cellulose gel will see price rises of four to eight percent.

Prices for FMC's carrageenan products will increase four to six percent.

CP Kelco is making the same move.

The firm recently announced that price hikes would be "significant", entering the double-digit range for some products.

The increases will be effective as of November 1, or as contracts are renewed.

Ingredients affected include pectin, carrageenan, carboxymethyl cellulose, cellulose gum, gellan gum, xanthan gum and welan gum.

Indeed, few businesses have remained unaffected by higher energy and commodity costs - other ingredients firms to announce price increases in recent months include DSM, Jungbunzlauer and Purac.

However, the implementation of price increases is not without its challenges.

Like all sectors, ingredients firms find themselves squeezed between rising costs they can no longer sustain, and customers unwilling to pay more for their products.

Food and beverage manufacturers, often unwilling or unable to absorb the extra cost due to challenges of their own, may turn to alternative products for their formulation needs, as seen in the move by some companies towards dairy alternative ingredients after dairy prices shot up this year.

Another scenario, and one that ingredients makers are wary of, is that companies will look to cheaper Chinese production.

Possibly the most striking example of this in recent years has been in the case of citric acid, where higher costs and Chinese competition has squeezed a number of Western citric acid firms right out of the picture, and has prevented re-investment in the industry.

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