Food Preservative Industry Needs Improved Coordination between Regulatory Agencies

Food preservatives are a wide range of food additives added to food to keep it fresh and avoid spoilage. Since packaged food is often water-rich organic material, the natural processes within it can themselves lead to spoilage of the food. Microbes can also readily fester in food, thanks to the ready supply of nutrients. This calls for the use of food preservatives, which block antimicrobial action and delay the natural conditions leading to spoilage.


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Food preservatives can be natural or synthetic, depending upon the duration for which the food needs to be kept fresh and the precise nature of the threats to be countered by the additive. According to Transparency Market Research, the global market for food preservatives was valued at US$2 bn in 2013. Exhibiting a steady 3.50% CAGR from 2014 to 2020, the market’s valuation is expected to rise to US$2.5 bn.


How will the increasing demand for organic food affect the food preservatives market?


One of the key drivers for the global food preservatives market is the increasing demand for organic food, which can’t be preserved with the same formulations used for conventionally farmed food. This has led to the generation of a new product category in the food preservatives market dealing specifically with the preservation of organic food. The widespread public perception of organic food as being healthier than conventionally farmed food is likely to aid the global food preservatives market massively in the coming years.


The rapid rate of urbanization around the world has also led to a growing demand for packaged food, which is a leading application segment of the global food preservatives market. Food preservatives are particularly important in packaged food, since packaged food is bought expressly to be eaten a significant time after its purchase. 


What is the most important challenge for the food preservatives industry?


Food preservatives have a direct effect on the health of the consumer, leading to governments across the world setting firm regulations to control and monitor their use. However, illegal use of more effective but more dangerous food preservatives is common across the world and particularly prevalent in developing countries. Earlier this month, Burmese officials discovered widespread use of formalin, a chemical more commonly used to preserve human carcasses and prevent them from rotting, for the preservation of tofu and noodles. The rising prevalence of such instances is a key restraint on the global food preservatives market, and requires more comprehensive and coordinated efforts from global healthcare bodies. 


The rapidly increasing demand for food preservatives from Asia Pacific makes coordination between the region’s food and beverage monitoring agencies particularly important. While North America led the global food preservatives market in 2013, Asia Pacific was not far behind and is likely to remain a key contributor to the global food preservatives market in the coming years. Australia, South Korea, India, China, Thailand are among the key markets for food preservatives, as the steady urbanization in these countries has led to the generation of a significant and expanding consumer pool.