The seaweed cultivation market size is estimated to be valued at USD 16.7 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 30.2 billion by 2025, recording a CAGR of 12.6% during the forecast period, in terms of value. Factors such as the rise in seaweed farming practices propelled by global demand, increasing industrial, agricultural and feed-related applications and rising market for seaweed as snack product are projected to drive the growth of the seaweed cultivation industry during the forecast period. Asia Pacific segment is going to dominate the market, due to its ease of raw material availability, favorable climatic conditions and low labor cost for seaweed cultivation, whereas the European region is growing fastest owing to growth in consumer awareness regarding the health benefits of seaweed based-products.
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To uplift the socio-economic status of small-scale fishermen, raise the living standard of the coastal community, and to promote the sustainable usage of coastal and marine resources, seaweed farming has become an alternative livelihood option in tropical developing countries. Furthermore, seaweeds grow at a higher rate and do not require fresh water or land space. They also do not require industrial fertilizers and pesticides that pose a threat to the environment. As a result, economical harvesting practices, together with the ease in handling cultivated seaweeds, have further encouraged seaweed farming across key seaweed-producing countries.
The cultivation of seaweed is majorly undertaken in the Asia Pacific region. After cultivation, this seaweed is then dried and exported to developed regions such as Europe and North America for further processing and to derive extracts to be used in end-user industries. Also, due to the lack in technology in the Asia Pacific region, labor engagement is higher, which adds to operational costs. Thus, to reduce labor engagement, implementation of new technologies, such as direct seeding technologies, automated harvesters, can be introduced in various Asian countries.
Asia Pacific is estimated to account for the largest market share in the seaweed cultivation market, in terms of value, in 2020. The large market size of the Asia Pacific for seaweed cultivation is attributed to the expansion of the seaweed industry in Asian countries such as China, Indonesia, Korea, and the Philippines, owing to factors such as ease of raw material availability, favorable climatic conditions for the production of seaweeds, low labor cost, and usage of seaweeds directly in food preparations. The North American and European seaweed industries are still developing and are projected to witness significant growth in the coming years. Awareness about the nutritional benefits of seaweeds, the presence of valuable nutrients such as iodine, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins, and antioxidants, and its growing usage in industrial applications drive the market for seaweeds in these regions.
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The seaweed cultivation market is dominated, with a large number of players. Key players in the market include Cargill (US), DuPont (US), Groupe Roullier (France), CP Kelco U.S., Inc. (US), Qingdao Gather Great Ocean Algae Industry Group (China), and Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd. (China), among others. Through strategies, such as expansions & investments, new product launches, acquisitions, and partnerships & agreements, companies are expanding their global presence and offering new products, which is projected to increase their operational capabilities in the market.