Enzyme threat to emulsifiers is limited, says Frost

Enzymes, which are finding uses in bakery and dairy products, do not pose a serious and long-term threat to the emulsifiers market since most are produced through genetic modification and those that are not are expensive, says Frost & Sullivan.

Emulsifiers have traditionally been used by food manufactures to stabilise oil and water combinations, extend shelf-life and improve taste and aroma. But enzymes have increasingly been encroaching on this territory, especially in the bakery and dairy segments, since they do not need to be labelled as food additives under the E-number system. Since consumers are driving the 'clean label' trend and increasingly avoiding products that list any E-number on the label - regardless of its natural or synthetic origin - this has led to fears that the emulsifiers market is facing severe decline. But in a market insight published last week, Frost & Sullivan analyst Chandrasekhar Shankaar said that consumer scepticism over GM and associated safety fears mean enzymes are caught in a vicious circle. "The GM issues associated with enzymes strongly negate the clean label advantage offered by enzymes," said Shankaar. "The non-GMO derived enzymes are expensive and less-effective as a substitute for synthetic emulsifiers." Moreover, although enzymes have secured some success in baked goods and processed cheeses, extension into other categories is unlikely as modern emulsifiers are more functionally diverse. "This has created a favourable mind share for emulsifiers in the food industry." Moreover, emulsifiers are seen to best answer challenges presented by the trend towards low-fat products. According to Frost & Sullivan's 2006 figures, 40 per cent of all emulsifiers for the food industry were for bakery use, and 25 per cent of enzymes. This works out to market values of US$236.2m and $65.3m respectively. In dairy, nearly 95 per cent of enzymes used were in the processed cheese sector, as coagulants and flavour enhancers. Emulsifiers, meanwhile, have superior functional properties in other dairy areas and therefore tend to be preferred. With the exception of large companies like Danisco, DSM and Kerry, suppliers tend to fall in either the enzyme or the emulsifier camp.

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