Herbal extracts are substances made by extracting a part of a herb often using a solvent like ethanol or water. The herbal extraction process has revolutionized fields of pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and nutrition. Often, the beneficial compounds present in herbs are so low in concentration, that they require unfeasible quantities to be consumed for them to make an impact. Herbal extracts ensure that by extracting the needed compounds and making them available in concentrated powder or liquid forms, sufficient quantities of the compounds can be consumed easily. They are also quickly and easily absorbed, digested and utilized by the body.
Standardized herbal extracts are herb extracts that have one or more components present in highly specific amounts. Standardization guarantees consistent chemistry across batches and makes it easy to add them in formulations as they make for easy and accurate calculations when creating new products. With long shelf lives, they ensure that when buying ingredients, the buyer isn’t very susceptible to crop harvests and price fluctuations in the global marketplace.
The global spice and herbs extracts market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 8% over the period of 2016-2021. The key drivers leading to the growth of herbal extract markets are the increased demand for a range of international flavours and cuisines in the major economies due to globalization, shifting consumer focus towards natural products, increasing demand for convenience foods and the rising preference for botanical flavors among consumers. Major companies are focusing on natural herb & spice extracts as they are becoming popular in every segment of the food and beverage industry and offer plenty of scope for new and innovative product creations.
Standardized herbal extracts are of tremendous importance in the nutraceuticals and functional foods and beverages industries, in addition to the pharmaceuticals industry. In the food segment, they are used in dairy, dressings and marinades, meat and poultry, snacks and others. In beverages, they are used in soft drinks, teas and herbal drinks, alcoholic beverages, and other applications.
The Good and the Bad
While there are several factors hampering the growth of this market over the forecast period such as inconsistencies in the global prices of herbs, high cost of production, availability of substitute products and inefficient processing techniques and adulteration, most of these problems can be mitigated. While there are substitute products available, consumers have been increasingly looking towards natural and organic products. There has been a drastic increase in consumer awareness of the exact ingredients being used in their products. As with any raw material industry, there are persistent issues with inefficient processing techniques and adulteration, but these can be overcome by working with dependable sourcing partners that consistently deliver high quality products.
In addition to mitigating the constraints in the industry, there exist additional opportunities as well. The global spice and herb extracts market is expected to be driven by factors such as growing number of innovative product launches, growing number of consumers eating out, a wide range of applications of spice and herb extracts and a rising preference for botanical flavors among consumers. This provides positive prospects for Small and Medium-Sized Exporters that adopt sustainable and natural measures while sourcing and procuring. North America remains the dominant spice and herbs extracts market globally in terms of dollar share, while Asia Pacific is the largest market in terms of volume.