The Global Market for Carotenoids

Published - Mar 2008| Analyst - Ulrich Marz| Code - FOD025C
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for carotenoids was $766 million in 2007. This is expected to increase to $919 million by 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3%.
  • Beta-carotene has the largest share of the market. Valued at $247 million in 2007, this segment is expected to be worth $285 million by 2015, a CAGR of 1.8%.
  • Most carotenoids are still produced by chemical synthesis and will remain so over the study period.


This report is an update of the BCC report The Global Market for Carotenoids, published in 2005, a study of the market situation of 2004. The market set-up for carotenoids over the past 3 years developed further and in some areas massive changes occurred. The main categories are still the same; no new types of carotenoids entered the market, but in almost all product categories developments in technology, applications, and especially market structures have taken place.

Beta-carotene is still the most prominent carotenoid used in foods and supplements, but due to a changing consumer perception, primarily in Europe, the product is suffering from natural replacements, specifically carrot juice, and market growth in the past few years was much lower than expected. In parallel, the number of producers of synthetic and algae derived beta-carotene rose sharply, which added to the imbalance of supply and demand, driving prices down.

Lycopene, an antioxidant recommended to prevent prostate cancer and traditionally supplied as an extract from tomato, saw unprecedented price decreases, mainly because of a number of new producers, an only moderately growing market in North America, and the inability to sell synthetic lycopene in Europe, due to lack of EU permission. However, fermentation derived material is now available and registered in North America and in Europe.

The lutein market was booming until 2004, but started, like lycopene, to suffer from a number of new market entries. Lutein for feed and for supplements is offered at prices lower than ever before.

Canthaxanthin is still the color of choice for introducing a red tone in egg yolks and to provide a cost competitive red background color in fish and shrimp. The number of canthaxanthin producers is extremely high as never, but application segments have only expanded moderately. Massive price erosions were the consequence and some manufacturers started to promote its use in the supplement sector to escape the decreasing profitability of the product in feed.

Astaxanthin, the color of choice for pigmenting fish and shrimp, expanded its market, but also suffered (as most other carotenoids) from an increasing number of suppliers and subsequent price erosion. Most astaxanthin is still produced by chemical synthesis. The fermentation product from Tate & Lyle is no longer on the market but algae products are making an increasing inroad into the astaxanthin market, not so much for fish coloring but for enriching supplements with an antioxidant, the health effects of which are claimed to be numerous.

Apo-carotenal and apo-ester are still on the market and despite the previous assumption that they will phase out sooner or later, they enjoyed some market growth in recent years, and even a new market entry took place.

Annatto, a carotenoid extract from a tree, has been on the market for a long while. Revisiting and analyzing in detail the annatto market revealed that the previous market data provided underestimated its importance and therefore the product section is not only an update from previous ones but sheds a completely new light on annatto.


This report contains:


  • Descriptions of various carotenoids including astaxanthin, beta-carotene, beta-apo-8-carotenol, beta-apo-8-carotenol-ester, canthaxanthin, lutein and lycopene
  • The current global market status of carotenoids, with trends and forecasts for growth through 2015
  • Technological issues, including the latest trends and a thorough patent analysis
  • Company profiles.



Public information on carotenoids is quite vast. Aside from company reports, product brochures, and other published documents, it has been the direct contact of the analyst with representatives of the relevant industry that provides the reliable and quantitative information on carotenoids that ensures the high quality of this report.


Dr. Ulrich März graduated in 1984 as an agro-economist from the University of Stuttgart, Germany. After more than 10 years working in the fine chemical industry, Dr. März started an independent consulting business for the food, feed, supplement, and agro-processing industries. His specialties are the evaluation of food, feed, and supplement ingredient markets and the design and market introduction of biotechnologically derived products, as well as the economics of fermentation processes. Dr. März has been the author of BCC technical market reports for more than 10 years.

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Published - Jun-2005| Analyst - Ulrich Marz| Code - FOD025B

Report Highlights

  • The current worldwide market value of all commercially-used carotenoids is estimated at $887 million for 2004 and expected to rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 2.9% to just over $1 billion.
  • The largest outlet will remain feed, mainly because of the outstanding importance of astaxanthin and canthaxanthin.
  • The market value of beta-carotene was estimated at $242 million in 2004. Increasing competition from Asia has resulted in price pressure that will result in a very moderate 2.9% AAGR through 2009. Food still is the most important outlet, where it is widely used as a color.
  • The big marketing success of recent years is lutein when it was demonstrated that it could help reduce age-related macular degeneration. This pushed lutein’s market value up to $139 million in 2004.
Published - Aug-2000| Analyst - Ulrich Marz| Code - FOD025A

Report Highlights

  • The global carotenoid market is estimated to be $786 million, out of which food applications account for $209 million, feed applications for $462 million and pharmaceutical and OTC applications for $115 million.
  • The most important types of carotenoids are astaxanthin, with 28% of total sales, and b-carotene with a similar share. The third largest carotenoid is canthaxantin, with 19% of total sales. All other carotenoids show sales volumes in the range of $10 million to $80 million.
  • The global carotenoid market is supposed to increase to over $900 million in 2005. It is expected that the use of carotenoids will grow in all application segments, but mostly in the OTC sector as these products are among the most prominent for health conscious consumers.


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