Hold onto your seat! Antioxidant sales are on the rise, as growing consumer awareness is pushing both ingredient and finished product sales forward, industry analysts say.
This awareness is even making chocolate a legitimate health food.
Antioxidants are, literally, everywhere—ubiquitous in foods, beverages and even beauty products. That makes the total market size very tricky to quantify, explained Ewa Hudson, head of health and wellness research at Euromonitor International (EI).
But by looking at top antioxidant ingredient sales such as green tea, dark chocolate, superfruit juice and dietary supplements, EI estimates the combined global sales in these categories totaled $34 billion in 2010. As a point of comparison, the global organic packaged food and beverage market was only $27 billion.
“The increased demand for processed foods will undoubtedly advance the use of antioxidants across the globe,” predicted Kantha Shelke, principal for food industry consultancy Corvus Blue LLC.
She sees antioxidants’ future as rosy.
“The increased dependency on processed foods (and antioxidants as preservatives and flavor modifiers) will help natural antioxidants in developed markets, like Europe and North America,” she said. “It will also help synthetic antioxidants in developing markets (BRIC, Asia, Middle East and Africa.) Antioxidants will also grow because of growing consumer awareness and demand for antioxidants in foods and cosmetics.”
Antioxidants are increasingly being used to counteract the effects of chemotherapy and radiation, and are being explored in medical foods. Animal and aquaculture feeds are another growing demand for antioxidants, Shelke said.
According to Euromonitor, the top antioxidant markets are Japan, the US, and China, with sales growing steadily in all five ranked product areas in the past five years. Growth from 2005 to 2010 was 43 percent in current terms, Euromonitor reports.