According to MarketsandMarkets, the global seaweed cultivation market size is estimated to be valued at USD 16.7 billion in 2020. It is projected to reach USD 30.2 billion by 2025, recording a CAGR of 12.6% in terms of value. Emerging markets in upcoming economies such as Europe and North American countries will be a potential market for seaweed manufacturers. The market is driven by direct consumption of edible seaweeds and its functional properties, which widens new growth prospects for the food processing industry and the application of seaweeds and seaweed extracts, such as agar, carrageen, and alginate. These are increasingly used as gelling, binding, and thickening agents in the food, textile, and other manufacturing industries, increasing the number of industrial, agricultural, and feed-related applications of seaweeds to drive the market.
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The seaweed cultivation market is segmented into red seaweeds, brown seaweeds, and green seaweeds based on type. The brown seaweeds segment is projected to witness the fastest growth in volume from 2020 to 2025. These seaweeds are increasingly used in the production of high-grade alginates. The increasing use of alginates in dental products encourages the leading companies to manufacture alginates from brown seaweeds. In the agriculture sector, brown seaweed extracts produce organic fertilizers due to their high potassium content. In the feed products, the usage of brown seaweeds such as kelp enhances livestock's immune system, improves meat quality, the gut health of farm animals, increases the milk production, which helps with weight gain and reduces stress associated with weaning. These factors are projected to drive the market for brown seaweeds.
The major markets for seaweed cultivation are Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe. The demand for seaweeds remains high in the Asia Pacific due to increased direct consumption of seaweeds as food and its usage in the processed food industry as a thickening and gelling agent.
Based on the application, the seaweed cultivation market is segmented into food, feed, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and others (including biomass for fuel, cosmetics, integrated aquaculture, and wastewater treatment). The food segment is projected to witness the fastest growth over the next five years, due to the increasing use of seaweeds in food products and its nutrient-rich properties such as high iodine, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin, antioxidant, and fiber.
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Based on form, the seaweed cultivation market is segmented into liquid, powder, flakes, and sheets. Due to their varied applications in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and feed, the market for liquid seaweeds is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.
Major players in this region focus on partnerships and agreements to meet with the customer demands and strengthen their position in the competitive market. Factors such as technological innovations for the development of ingredients to enhance food product texture and gelling properties have further contributed to the growth of this market.