World demand for food-safety products – including disinfection and diagnostic products, smart labels and tags, and software and tracking systems – is projected to rise 8.1 percent per year to $13.6 billion in 2014, according to market research analysts The Freedonia Group, of Cleveland.
Global sales are expected to accelerate from the pace seen over the 1999-2009 period, which saw average annual growth of 7.4 percent.
The interest comes on the heels of increasingly strict food-safety regulations worldwide, following many recent high-profile cases of food contamination, such as melamine-contaminated milk in China in 2008, and the massive egg recall in the U.S .in 2010.
"Some of the best opportunities for food-safety products will be found in the Asia/Pacific region, which will account for two fifths of aggregate market-value gains between 2009 and 2014," explained analyst Pauline Tung, co-author of the report World Food Safety Products. "But the U.S. is by far the world's biggest national user of food-safety products, accounting for 23 percent of total demand in 2009."
Trends in industrialization and increasing living standards will make developing regions riper for fast growth, outpacing the global average. This includes Asia, Africa/Mideast, Eastern Europe and Central and South America.
"China will continue to see some of the fastest demand growth, due to mounting pressure on the part of consumers, producers and regulators to ensure the safety of the food supply," Tung said.
Types of products
The largest segment in food safety is disinfection products, which will continue to account for the greatest bulk in sales. While demand for disinfectants is relatively mature, the rising number of reported foodborne outbreaks and food-product recalls will continue to push sales. A trend toward more rapid diagnostic tests, which are more expensive than conventional testing systems, will also generate sales.
Another important segment is smart labels and tags, software and tracking systems. While coming from a smaller base, advances are happening quickly and these products are important for ensuring food-product traceability.
"Improved traceability programs will continue to be adopted at a growing rate by food-exporting companies as a way of exceeding regulatory standards and improving their global competitiveness," Tung said.
In the U.S., it is this second category of smart labels and tags that will see the fastest gains. It will be driven by the rapid adoption of smart-label technology in food packaging, because of the tags' ability to provide traceability in the food chain.
Meanwhile, in Central and South America, the region's largest economies of Argentina and Brazil will drive the greatest advances. But demand for food-safety products will also rise quickly in smaller countries, such as Chile, Colombia and Peru, due to the growth in the food and beverage processing industries.
"Demand for food-safety products will also be boosted by increasing food trade," Tung explained, "which requires the region's food producers to meet rising international food-safety standards."