Synthetic antioxidants hold off challenge from naturals

15/01/03 - Growing consumer interest in natural food ingredients and their tendency to avoid synthetic products which they perceive as unsafe, has driven the use of more expensive natural food antioxidants. But, a new study from market analysts Frost & Sullivan, reveals that the shift to natural antioxidants may not be as overwhelming as manufacturers might have expected.

Consumer awareness and the growth in the market for premium food products have certainly driven the use of more expensive natural antioxidants. This in turn has driven up the average antioxidant price and results in increasing revenues for the market as a whole. But while naturals are growing at the expense of synthetics, industry participants will be surprised to discover that synthetics (hindered phenols and propyl gallate) still hold around a 40 per cent market share, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Frost food industry analyst Lyndsey Greig explained : "Synthetic food antioxidants are holding on to market share owing to the fact that they are far lower cost products than natural antioxidants. But, consumer pressure will continue to drive the market toward the use of natural antioxidants over the forecast period of this study. By 2009 the total market for food antioxidants in Europe and US will have grown from its $190 million today to reach over $240 million."

In Europe, food antioxidant prices have generally been falling as a result of increased competition in the market from Western and Asian manufacturers. However, hindered phenols are surprisingly experiencing a slow increase in price. In the US however, natural antioxidants are experiencing a period of price fluctuation while synthetics remain stable.

"Food antioxidant manufacturers really need to wake up to reality," said Greig. "Synthetic antioxidant manufacturers whose products are typically sold into the rubber, plastic and lubricant industries must develop specialised food market knowledge to enable them to exploit this potential market more successfully. On the other hand, natural antioxidant manufacturers, particularly herbals, should invest in the generation of scientific data to support efficacy claims."

A full report on food antioxidants, 'The European Food Antioxidant Report' which analyses the market from 1999-2009, is available from Frost & Sullivan <>.

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