Spirulina, a type of cyanobacteria that can be consumed by humans and animals, has been growing in popularity as a superfood ingredient. Its nutritional benefits – such as being high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and low in calories – makes it a sought-after ingredient in the health foods market. According to a report by Future Market Insights, the global spirulina market is expected to experience a growth rate of 5.9 percent between 2017-2027, reaching an estimated market valuation of over $530 million by the end of that period.
This increasing demand for the spirulina is a result of the changing consumer market. Food products that are plant-based yet high in protein are highly sought after by consumers. Spirulina being 65-71 percent complete protein, has the highest food protein ratio in the world. The bacteria are also being looked at as a form of sustainable nutrition for third world countries because they are high in essential vitamins and minerals and can survive in extreme temperatures.
Spirulina is also considered cost-effective, which makes it easy for food companies to introduce it into a variety of different applications. Companies are looking into using it as a natural food colouring with added nutritional benefits. With the European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) having banned the use of artificial colours in edible products, it is likely that the use of natural colours in EU countries will increase. Using spirulina as a blue colourant is rising in popularity in such countries and in the US because of the bacteria’s nutritional benefits and texture.
Another application of spirulina is in health beverages and tonics. The superfood is promoted by many healthy recipe websites as a nutrient boosting ingredient for smoothies and milkshakes. The food and beverage segment for this ingredient is expected to have the highest growth rate of 6.9 percent during the forecast period.
The dietary supplement segment is leading the spirulina market with a valuation of over $380 million by the end of 2027. Based on sales, the retail segment is expected to outdo the competition with a higher CAGR of seven percent during the forecast period. However, the highest market share ($400 million) is predicted to come from direct suppliers.
North America is expected to have the biggest market value for spirulina products by the end of 2027. The estimated CAGR of 7.3 percent is due to the growing amount of North American consumers who are aware of the heath benefits of spirulina.