Algae are sustainable and vegetarian source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA).Algal DHA and ARA are gaining traction in the market owing to the various health benefits it offers. Consumption of DHA and ARA reduces aging and improves brain, gastrointestinal, and heart health. Therefore, health benefits offered by DHA- and ARA-based products are propelling demand for DHA and ARA enriched food and beverages all over the world, which in turn is driving growth of algal DHA and ARA in the food & beverages industry.

Factor such as government initiatives promoting nutritional programs and marketing activities by leading manufacturers through social media are creating awareness among consumers regarding health benefits of nutraceutical ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and ARA. For instance, Archer Daniel Midland Company in association with European Vegetable Protein Association (EUVEPRO) is creating awareness related to nutritional supplements and providing necessary consultation to vegetable protein producers for human consumption, in Europe.

Alternative sources of DHA and ARA include fungi, fish, eggs, dairy products, and fish oils. Majority of DHA products are consumed from such alternative sources (fish oils, fish, eggs, and meat) in North America. Thus, easy availability of alternative DHA sources will restrain growth of the algal DHA and ARA market, across the globe.

The global algal DHA and ARA market was valued at US$ 417.3 million in 2017, and is expected to register a CAGR of 14.3% in terms of value, during the forecast period (2019 – 2026) to reach US$ 1,225.5 million by 2026.

Figure 1. Global Algal DHA and ARA Market Share (%) (US$ Mn), By Application, 2017

Infant formula segment accounted for the largest market share of 48.1% in the global algal DHA and ARA market in 2017, owing to its various health benefits such as its consumption supports healthy pregnancy, visual development and function, cardiovascular health, and memory. Increasing demand for DHA and ARA from infant formula market is driving growth of the segment in the algal DHA and ARA market. Algal DHA and ARA is a major source of unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids, which is used as a nutritional supplement for infant nutrition.

North America held the largest market share of 36.8% in 2017 in the global algal DHA and ARA market. Government regulations for the use of algal DHA and ARA in infant nutrition, food & beverages, and nutritional supplement industries is driving growth of the algal DHA and ARA market. The government bodies such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) approved DHA and ARA for infant nutrition in 2004. Thus, manufacturers are focusing on developing DHA- and ARA-based products in infant nutrition industry. In 2017, Archer Daniels Midland Company introduced Onavita DHA algal oil, a new DHA produced from a algae source. Onavita DHA algal oil is the latest addition to ADM’s Omega-3 product line, which also includes Onavita ALA from non-GMO flaxseed oil.

Figure 2. Global Algal DHA and ARA Market Share (%) (US$ Mn), By Region, 2017

Players operating in the global algal DHA and ARA market are adopting various strategies such as mergers and acquisitions to expand its business. For instance, in September 2017, Corbion N.V. acquired TerraVia, which is a fermentation-based microalgae production platform. TerraVia is expected to provide a significant boost to Corbion’s sales growth with its microalgae ingredients.

Major players operating in the global algal DHA and ARA market includes Koninklijke DSM N.V., Cabio Bioengineering (Wuhan) Co., Ltd., Corbion N.V., Lonza Group, Algisys, LLC, and Cargill, Incorporated among others.

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