Monday, 6 November 2017

Agar Agar Gum: A Natural Boon for Vegans

Growing number of vegans and vegetarians across the world has encouraged numerous alternatives for animal-based products in the food industry. Gelatine is a highly popular, animal-based key ingredient in desserts, confectionaries, and other such dairy products. It is considered non-vegetarian by many, because it is obtained from animals. This drives the demand for gelatine substitutes. Agar-agar gum is one of the commonly preferred alternatives. 

What is Agar Agar gum?

This natural hydrocolloid is extracted from red seaweed species like Gelidium, Gracilaria, and Pterocladia. These species belong to rhodophyceae class and they grow over the ocean rocks. They are also artificially harvested to meet the growing demand. Agar gum is available in strips, squares, and powder forms and is widely used in dairy products.

Agar Agar Flakes

Recently, Eden Foods introduced their Agar Agar Flakes. These vegetable flakes can be used in preserves, fruit aspics, pie fillings, and other foods products. It is one of the naturally prepared gelatine substitutes that is tasteless and odorless in nature. It is free of fat and contains low amount of sodium. Hence, it can be utilized as a healthy alternative for gelatine.

More than a Gelatine Substitute

Agar gum is basically used for its gelling properties that can be useful in food industry for thickening, binding, stabilizing, and texturizing. Agar gum consist of an outstanding heat resistance and stabilizing abilities. Agar agar gum can be used in many other applications such as pharmaceutical, microbiology, and biotechnology. Agar in its hydrated form can assist in digestion. It is also used in making emulsions and capsules in clinical lubricants. In radiology, agar acts as a suspending agent for Barium Sulphate. Agar is used for preparing dental casts in prosthetic dentistry. In biotechnology, it is used for plant tissue culture. 

Market Overview

According to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.; the global agar agar gum market is predicted to gain nearly USD 345.3 billion by 2025. Changing consumer preference for animal-free products and healthy diets can drive the market during the forecast period (2014 to 2025). Microbiological & molecular applications are expected witness rapid expansion in the forthcoming years. 

Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at the highest CAGR of around 5.4% till 2025. Key companies operating in the market are Marine Science Co. Ltd.; Myeong Shin Agar; Indoalgas; Central Drug House (P) Ltd.; Able Sales Company, Inc.; and Orient Resources Company.

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