The report “Seaweed Protein Market by Source (Red, Brown, Green), Extraction Process (Conventional Method, Current Method), Application (Food, Animal Feed & Additives, Personal Care & Cosmetics), and Region – Global Forecast to 2026″, size is estimated to be valued at USD 465.5 million in 2020. It is projected to reach USD 981.6 million by 2026 recording a CAGR of 13.2% during the forecast period. The shift towards more nutritional food options has increased the demand for seaweed-derived food products across the globe. Seaweeds or macroalgae are a rich source of protein and contain all sources of essential amino acids at various concentrations. They act as a suitable alternative for vegan consumers and for those who are allergic to dairy whey protein and eggs. The protein content in some seaweed is similar to those of traditional protein sources such as egg, meat, milk, and soybean. The yield of protein is higher from seaweeds when compared to terrestrial crops, such as wheat, soybean, and pulse legumes.
Drivers: Growth in consumer awareness regarding the health benefits of seaweed protein-based products
The awareness regarding the health benefits of seaweed protein-based products is one of the key factors that is gaining consumer attention. Red seaweeds, such as dulse, are high in protein. In addition to their use as a protein source, the Teagasc researchers have found that some of these seaweed proteins may have health benefits beyond those of basic human nutrition — for use in functional foods. Seaweeds are a source of bioactive peptides, which can reduce high blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Bioactive peptides are sequences of 2 to 30 amino acids in length that display hormone-like beneficial properties when released from their parent protein. According to Teagasc, a renin-inhibitory peptide is found in the seaweed Palmaria palmata. These renin inhibitory peptides are currently being assessed in bread products for human consumption, which are commonly used as therapy in reducing high blood pressure.
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Restraints: Concentration of some essential amino acids (EAAs) in seaweeds is low
The concentration of EAAs in seaweed, in an entire biomass base, is considerably lower as compared to traditional sources, such as corn and soy; thus, it is not suitable as a protein source in compound diets for monogastric animals. Amino acids such as tryptophan and lysine are often limiting amino acids in most seaweed species. Leucine and isoleucine are commonly found in low concentrations in red seaweed species, while methionine, cysteine, and lysine are often limiting in brown seaweed species. Cysteine typically occurs at low levels in many seaweed species and is often not detectable. However, this does not detract from its positive health benefits for humans and livestock, where its few calories and high mineral content may be desirable.
By source, green seaweeds is the fastest growing segment in the market during the forecast period
The emerging use of green seaweeds in processed food industry is expected to drive the market growth further. Some green seaweeds, such as Ulva pertusa, Enteromorpha sp. and Monostroma sp., which contain a high protein level are also processed for the manufacturing of foods. These seaweeds are mixed to create a food product called ‘aonori’ (green laver) that is very much appreciated by Japanese consumers. When used in small amounts, green laver is also used as a garnish served with raw fish.
By application, food segment is the fastest-growing segment in the market during the forecast period
Increasing application of seaweed protein as a functional ingredient in processed food is driving the growth of the market. Seaweeds, for example, P. tenera (nori) is commonly used as a sushi wrap in several Asian cultures. Many species of seaweed are particularly high in the amino acids aspartic acid and glutamic acid, which exhibit a unique and interesting flavor that has led to the discovery of the taste sensation referred to as ‘umami’.
The Asia Pacific region is projected to account for a major share in the market during the forecast period
The largest market share of Asia Pacific is attributed to the expansion of the seaweed industry in Asian countries such as China, Indonesia, South Korea, and the Philippines, owing to factors such as raw material availability, favorable climatic conditions for the production of seaweeds, and availability of cheap labor.
This report includes a study on the marketing and development strategies, along with the product portfolios of leading seaweed protein manufacturing companies. It consists of profiles of leading companies, such as CP Kelco U.S., Inc. (US), Algaia (France), Gelymar (South Africa), Seasol (South Africa), Compo Expert GmBH (Germany), Qingdao Gather Great Ocean Algae Industry Group (China), and Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd. (China).
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