The chicory market size is estimated to be valued at USD 685 million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 905 million by 2025, recording a CAGR of 5.7% during the forecast period.
Rising prices of coffee beans along with increasing consumption of coffee, is navigating the coffee and other food & beverage manufacturers to adopt to chicory ingredient, as a cheaper substitute to coffee. Also, high medicinal values and health benefits associated with the consumption of chicory, is expected to further propel the market. Furthermore, easy cultivation process of the crop and rising number of new entrants in the market, is substantially snowballing the growth prospects.
Drivers: Preference for chicory as a cheaper substitute for coffee
Chicory is currently ten times cheaper than coffee. Coffee is one of the premium food products. The prices of coffee powder have further increased due to an increase in prices, making it impossible for companies to absorb the higher cost of raw material. Coffee companies are now blending in chicory to protect their margin. Large coffee companies that hold a couple of bestselling brands have increased their chicory content in their branded sachets to 49% from 30%. This has highly increased the cultivation of chicory roots and hence the production of instant chicory powder across major countries. Direct consumer products made from chicory, such as the roasted chicory powder that is an absolute coffee substitute, are also very cheap; therefore, people now prefer more chicory because of its lower price, accompanied by significant health benefits and also is caffeine-free.
Restraints: High dependency on mainstream products such as coffee
Chicory, though popularly known to be a caffeine-free substitute to coffee, does not offer the same organoleptic characteristics. The dark coffee flavor and aroma are unique to the coffee bean. Chicory coffee, on the other hand, has a slightly woody bitter taste with a nutty, and sometimes, herbal flavor. Some roasts of chicory even have traces of slightly tart fruits such as cherries. Coffee is enjoyed for many reasons by people across the globe for its flavor, ritual, memories, emotion, and of course, the stimulation it delivers.
Most coffee enthusiasts find it difficult to replace coffee with any other beverage. Over time, the coffee drinker begins to associate the taste and smell of coffee with positive mood changes and energy, enhancing their brain function on consumption.; this includes improved memory, mood, rise in energy levels, and improves general cognitive functions. Green tea is associated with enhancing body metabolism and, consequently, weight loss; black tea is associated with physical and mental robustness. Tea and coffee are also widely grown and harvested in several countries in large amounts. According to FAOSTAT, more the 100 million tonnes (~112 million tons) of coffee and 6.4 million tonnes (7.05 million tons) of tea were produced globally in 2018. The coffee and tea industries witness the easy availability of raw materials and cheaper products from the local and regional players. All these factors restrain the growth of the chicory product market across the world as their substitute.
Opportunities: Growth in applications of chicory across various industries
A variety of trends have driven the use of chicory root fiber not only in food & beverage applications but also in other areas like in dietary supplements, pet food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries. In the food and beverage industry, one of the present significant trends is in sugar reduction. Chicory root fiber can assist with sugar reduction by helping with flavor and texture. Chicory leaves and roots have been used for salads and in the preparation of various innovative and tasty recipes. Chicory is a nutritional powerhouse, containing vitamin K, A, C, and a long list of the B group vitamins. It is an excellent source of minerals like manganese, copper, iron, and potassium. The roots of chicory contain inulin fiber, a type of prebiotic that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut; this is used widely as a dietary supplement.
Many cosmetic companies are now using chicory ingredients in their products. The chicory root oligosaccharides work to boost the skin’s collagen while smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. All these application areas increase the demand for chicory, hence bolstering the chicory production and growth potential in various countries.
Challenges: Higher technical expertise required for producing certain chicory-based products
The chicory root is used to produce many varieties of chicory products; hence, a lot of expertise is required to extract each product one after the other while processing. For manufacturing chicory inulin, hydrolysates, and derivatives of inulin by conventional manufacturing techniques from roots of chicory, they are required to be grown in appropriate regions and also have to be processed under proper climatological temperature conditions. Selection of said proper conditions enables to provide a growing and/or processing period for the chicory roots, which may partly or wholly extend beyond the conventional periods.
The preparation of instant chicory coffee requires a high amount of energy and is a continuous ongoing process. Temperature conditions are the most vital factor for chicory production. If the production by any chance suddenly gets interrupted, the entire mass of chicory solidifies inside the processing units causing huge damage to the machinery and a large amount of material gets wasted; this caused companies to incur huge amounts of losses. For this reason, it is necessary for manufacturers to evaluate the whole process (while main attention should be brought to the most energy-consuming processes) and techniques used to achieve the most efficient result. Different production plants and countries assume that the energy consumed in the two processes of drying and roasting mostly defines the price of the chicory coffee. Thus, the difficult and high technical expertise required for the production of chicory-based products hinders the market growth potential.
Key players in this market include Cosucra Groupe Warcoing (Belgium), Delecto Foods Pvt Ltd (India), BENEO GmbH (Germany), Sensus (Netherlands), Leroux (France), Cargill Incorporated (US), Reily Foods Company (US), Pioneer Chicory (India), PMV Nutrient Products Pvt Ltd (India), Farmvilla Food Industries Pvt Ltd (India), Murlikrishna Foods Pvt Ltd (India), Starwest Botanicals (US), STOKROS Company Ltd (Russia), Nature’s Gold Production (Netherlands), Organic Herb Trading Co (UK), Narasu’s Coffee Company (India), NP Nutra (US), Shaanxi Sciphar Natural Product Co Ltd. (China), Jamnagar Chicory Industries (India), and Herbs & Crops Overseas (India).
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