Feed Acidulants: The ban on antibiotic growth promoters creates a significant opportunity for feed acidification

It is well known that organic acids act as preserving agents and control the growth of certain bacteria that are widely used in the food industry. In the feed industry, acidulants are widely used for their usefulness in promoting a healthy gut by modulating the intestinal flora through their bacteriostatic and/or bactericidal effects on different types of bacteria. The acidulants used in the feed have two modes of action. The first one is the reduction of pH in the digestive tract and the second is the direct anti-microbial effect against gram-negative bacteria like E. coli.

Feed acidulants are expected to witness healthy growth and adoption during the forecast period due to the ban on antibiotics in the US and the European Union (EU), and the growing government aids or funds promoting the feed industry wellness. Furthermore, the high threat of diseases in livestock is expected to impact the market positively during the forecast period. While manufacturers are looking forward to tapping this industry, the major hindering factors are the rising prices of feed acidulants and the maintenance of the efficacy of feed acidulants due to their corrosive properties. These factors are restraining the growth of this market.

According to MarketsandMarkets, the global feed acidulants market is projected to grow from USD 2.73 billion in 2018 to USD 3.45 billion by 2023. The growth of the market is expected to be directly affected by the growth of feed additives and the increasing government aid for livestock welfare. The feed acidulants industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% from 2018 to 2023.

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What is driving the growth of the feed acidulants market?

  • High threat of diseases in livestock

The outbreak of diseases such as avian flu, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) not only affects livestock breeding and the economy but also poses a serious threat to human health. The emergence of swine diarrhea in the US caused significant losses to swine farmers. Countries such as China, India, and Indonesia are constantly facing outbreaks of avian flu and swine flu due to their hot and humid climatic conditions. Meat vendors, meat processors, wholesalers, retailers, and ultimately, livestock growers suffer financial losses due to the culling of disease-affected animals, which further leads to a drop in animal productivity.

The use of feed acidulants in such cases proves to be an effective medium to reduce disease outbreaks. They improve animal health, improve feed efficiency by inhibiting pathogenic bacteria growth, and reduce the risk of sub-clinical infections. The addition of feed acidulants to the feed also helps in maintaining an optimum pH in the stomach of the livestock, stimulates feed consumption, and improves protein and energy digestibility by reducing microbial competition with host nutrients and endogenous nitrogen losses. Therefore, the inclusion of feed acidulants is important for the maintenance of animal health. This is one of the major factors driving the demand for feed acidulants.

The formic acid segment is projected to be the fastest-growing in the global market, in terms of value

The formic acid segment is projected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period, in terms of value. Formic acid is a colorless fuming liquid and remains soluble in water in almost all proportions. This characteristic of the acidulant enables its proper mixture in the feed, thereby allowing consistent feed formulations. While formic acid remains highly efficient in improving ATTD (apparent total tract digestibility) of protein, it also aids in improving feed efficiency.

Formic acid also acts as an ensiling agent, apart from being used for the preservation and acidification of feed mixes. While being used as an ensiling agent, formic acid supports lactic acid bacteria activity during the fermentation process. The acidulant remains particularly effective in ensiling wet and high-protein fodder plants. Additionally, the use of formic acid is known to be environmentally safe, as it decomposes after it has been used as an ensiling agent. Formic acid also boasts antibacterial effects that help to preserve the feed. Formic acid, when used in tandem with propionic acid, enhances this functionality further.

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Based on region, the feed acidulants market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and Rest of the World.

  • South America accounted for the market size of USD 167.2 million, in the feed acidulants market in 2017. It is projected to grow at the highest CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period. BASF SE (Denmark) and Kemin Industries Inc. (US) are the two of the prominent players present in the region.
  • Increase in annual livestock production in South America subsequently drives the demand for compound feed, which, in turn, drives the consumption of feed acidulants. The rapid expansion of the livestock industry in the region has also resulted in steady imports of feed acidulants. According to the WHO, the per capita meat and milk & dairy product consumption in South America was the highest in 2015, as compared to other regions; and this trend is expected to continue to drive the demand for feed acidulants in this region.

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