Southeast Asia Food Emulsifiers Market to Exhibit Steady 5.10% CAGR, Driven by Growing Demand for Convenience Food

The origin of emulsifiers can be traced back to ancient Greece, when the emulsifying power of beeswax was put to use in cosmetic products to make them sustain for longer periods. Back in the early 19th century, egg yolk emerged as potentially the first emulsifier to be used in food production. However, egg yolks could only offer short-term stability to products; hence, food manufacturers switched to lecithin derived from soybeans, which has remained an important food product since the early 1920s. The most significant breakthrough in emulsifiers came ten years later, when mono- and di-glycerides, derivatives of fatty acids, were introduced. In 1936, the use of these fatty acid derivatives was patented for ice-cream manufacturing. Cut to the present, and emulsifiers have emerged as essential food additives that go into the production of a plethora of food products including mayonnaise, margarine, candy, creamy sauces, confectionaries, and several other packaged or processed food.

Among the key regions fuelling the overall food emulsifier market, Southeast Asia has emerged as a lucrative market. In its latest report, Transparency Market Research pegs the value of the food emulsifier market in Southeast Asia at US$173.3 mn in 2014. The report forecasts the market to reach US$248.3 mn by the end of 2021, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.10% between 2015 and 2021.

Growing Demand for Convenience Foods Fuels Southeast Asia Food Emulsifiers Market

The demand for convenience foods has dramatically risen around the world in the past few years. The Southeast Asia market was not aloof from this exponential rise in demand for convenience foods, either. The demand for food emulsifiers has thus surged in tandem with the growing market for confectionaries and bakeries. Additionally, the food emulsifier market in Southeast Asia also benefits from the growing health concerns among people living in this region. Since food emulsifiers are compulsory additions to the final food and often functional food products, to enhance their overall quality, growth prospects of the market seem robust in the near future.  

During the initial days, the use of food emulsifiers commenced with adding lecithin or monoglyceride to margarine. Back then, these substances were the only known emulsifiers. However, as research and investment in the field progressed, several other functions of food emulsifiers were discovered, and their use emerged in food products such as ice cream, bread, and cakes. Nowadays, emulsifiers are also used in Japanese food such as minced food products and tofu.

What Drives the Use of Food Emulsifiers in Food Products?
  • As the name suggests, emulsifiers are commonly used for their emulsifying properties. However, they offer several other functions. Some of the most significant functions of food emulsifiers include:
  • Emulsifiers help modify oil crystals, thereby preventing the annoying and potentially hazardous water spattering while cooking.
  • Emulsifiers stabilize foam by promoting the formation of emulsions. This helps ice-cream and other food items achieve their smooth texture and maintain their shape.
  • In bakery products and confectionaries, emulsifiers are used, since they react with protein to help in the smooth rise of dough in bread.
  • Furthermore, emulsifiers acts as starch to make breads soft.


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