The commercial seaweed market has been witnessing decent growth primarily due to increasing seaweed usage in food products, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals. Lately, many developed countries of the West have been tapping into the various health benefits associated with seaweeds. The idea of using seaweed as a natural salt alternate in the light of growing incidences of hypertension is supporting the supply and demand for commercial seaweed.

As per a report by Global Market Insights, Inc. Commercial Seaweed Market size was estimated to be valued at over USD 40 billion in 2020 and is set to register around 9.6% CAGR from 2021 to 2027.

Asian nations such as Japan, China, Indonesia, and Korea have already emerged as lucrative business grounds for commercial seaweed manufacturers over time. Green seaweeds like Ulva sp., Monostroma sp., Enteromorpha sp., and Caulerpa sp. have particularly witnessed exponential demand over time as they serve as some of the most common sources of food in these countries. These algae are consumed by humans in raw, dried, or cooked forms. They are widely used to prepare “nori-jam”, a Japanese cuisine.

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Countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea are also the major markets for seaweeds as the product is used in the form of salads, curd soups, and seasoned snacks. Wet seaweeds find use in industrial applications like in the production of hydrocolloids and fertilizers due to their rich vitamin and mineral content.  

Many leading personal care product manufacturers are using seaweed in their products due to their high nutritional value. For example, a leading French cosmetic company- L’Oréal uses carrageenan, a seaweed extract, in their hair styling cream in order to enhance improved texture. Moreover, manufacturers use alginates as a dispersing and thickening agent in creams, soaps, lotions, liquid emulsions, and toothpaste.

With respect to end-user, the market for commercial seaweed has recorded considerable growth in the biofuels segment since seaweeds can turn into bio-crude, that may be refined to biofuel. Biofuels are regarded as a potential solution to make a shift towards a clean and sustainable lifestyle. Several processing measures have been evolved in the last few years to extract biofuels from seaweeds. For example, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has developed a technique known as fast hydrothermal liquefaction to extract bio-oil from seaweed. 

Some of the leading companies in the commercial seaweed market are constantly aiming to work towards making the product available to consumers in the best possible quality along with expanding its geographical reach. Few of these companies are Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., W Hydrocolloids Inc., and Seaweed Energy Solutions, among various others.   

Seaweed extracts are also gaining eminence across textile, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paper products, cosmetics, and biofuels. The increasing application spectrum of seaweed coupled with their availability will support industry expansion over the forthcoming years.

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