Food-grade gases are gases that are used in the food industry as a processing aid or additive to preserve food for longer periods, maintain its freshness, and also to enhance its visual appeal. Food-grade gases are used for applications like freezing, packing, carbonation of beverages, and cooling during mixing processes. Gases that are mostly used for this purpose are carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen.
Carbon dioxide is mainly used for cooling, freezing, carbonization of beverages, and in modified atmosphere packaging. It is also used for extending the shelf-life of packaged food, as in high concentrations, carbon dioxide can prevent microbial growth and delay food spoilage. It is also used in producing potable drinking water and for softening water in order to avoid corrosion problems in long water distribution lines.
Nitrogen, on the other hand, is used to slow down rancidity in foods rich in fats. Oxygen is also used as a food-grade gas, mainly in packaging of fresh fruits and meat, and in atmosphere packaging. It is usually used along with carbon dioxide and/or nitrogen to get better results. Presently, the carbon dioxide segment is holding the largest market share due to the rising demand from carbonated beverage manufacturers and microbreweries.
The global food-grade gases market was valued at USD 5.9 billion in 2018 and is predicted to reach USD 8.1 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 6.7% during 2018 to 2023. The main factors that are expected to drive the growth of the market are the rising number of microbreweries across the globe and a shift in consumer preference towards convenient food packaging. The latest development in packaging, freezing, carbonation, and chilling technologies is also expected to exert a positive impact on the market growth.
Further, the demand for food in its pure and fresh form is increasing across the globe. More and more consumers are demanding fresh foods at affordable prices throughout the year. So, with the increasing demand for packaged foods, the consumption of food grade gases is rising. Moreover, consumers are shifting to food products without or minimal preservatives due to an increasing awareness about health and wellbeing. This, in turn, is prompting manufacturers and distributors to use food grade gases to keep food fresh.
North America dominated the food grade gases market in 2018 due to the large number of microbreweries present in the region, which require carbon dioxide for dispensing beer. The soft drinks market of North America is one of the largest in the world and it creates huge demands for food-grade carbon dioxide for the carbonation of beverages.
Apart from North America, Europe is also an established market for food-grade industrial gases. However, in the coming years, the Asia-Pacific market will provide immense opportunities due to the rising consumption of packaged food products and technological advancements in the region.
The leading global players in the food-grade gases market are The Linde Group (Germany), Air Liquide (France), Air Products & Chemicals (US), The Messer Group (Germany), Wesfarmers Ltd. (Australia), SOL Group (Italy), Gulf Cryo (Kuwait), Taiyo Nippon Sanso (Japan), Air Water, Inc. (Japan), Massy Group (Caribbean), PT Aneka Industri (Indonesia), and The Tyczka Group (Germany).