Sunflower Lecithin powder is urgent.
According to media reports on April 12, due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, the total production of sunflower seeds worldwide has been reduced by more than 50%, which has also led to a sharp rise in the market price of sunflower lecithin powder. You know, Russia and Ukraine are the two largest sunflower producers in the world.
According to Kerry, the prices of liquid sunflower lecithin and deoiled sunflower lecithin powder are 3 to 4 times higher than before the war, and the price increase has not been decreased so far.
In the next few years, price fluctuations will continue due to the uncertainty of global sunflower production, and the market urgently needs alternatives to sunflower lecithin.
The largest sunflower lecithin supplier left unexpectedly.
In an interview with FoodIngredientsFirst, Kerry discusses the severe supply woes of ingredients such as sunflower lecithin due to regional conflicts and the attendant challenges for companies to find clean-label alternatives while maintaining product taste, flavor, and sustainability.
Tim Cottrell, director of Kerry’s North American emulsifiers, thickeners, and acacia business unit, said that because the largest and cost-competitive suppliers no longer serve the market, suppliers in smaller regions such as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia Started to come back online. Still, they can only produce enough to cover a small portion of the existing market. While there are producers in other regions, such as Spain, Eastern Europe, and some parts of South America, ingredients produced in South America usually do not leave the local area.
Based on this, the raw material price of sunflower lecithin has increased by 3-4 times compared with that before the war.
Why is sunflower lecithin so important?
So why is sunflower lecithin so important? Is there no other substitute for it?
In fact, one of the primary sources of food lecithin is soybeans. Still, because many people are allergic to soybeans and many are genetically modified, some consumers think that chemical agents are used in the production process of soybean lecithin. They are worried that there will be remains. Therefore, when the healthier sunflower lecithin appeared, it quickly became the main choice of enterprises.
Sunflower lecithin is a phospholipid contained in sunflower seeds. It is rich in phosphatidylcholine, which is beneficial to the health of the human brain, and it also has essential fatty acids.
From the application point of view, sunflower lecithin is an emulsifier that can make food sticky. It is a crucial ingredient used in various foods. It is often used in bread, chocolate, biscuits, wafer biscuits, margarine, pastry, instant food Mixtures, whipped cream, and, in recent years, plant-based products.
Advantages of Sunflower Lecithin
Most sunflower lecithin is organic and does not involve GMOs. Few people are allergic to lecithin derived from sunflower, so sunflower lecithin can meet all the clean label requirements.
And it also has excellent emulsifying properties that help emulsify fats so they can disperse in water.
Therefore, sunflower lecithin has been widely welcomed by the market.
According to Reportlinker’s data, the global sunflower lecithin market size is expected to be US$426 million in 2021, US$476 million in 2022, and US$838 million in 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.91%.
Supply chains are under pressure, and alternatives are imminent.
As the supply chain of sunflower lecithin is under pressure, and the influencing factors have not been really eliminated, many companies are looking for alternatives to sunflower lecithin. It also reflects that when the market relies too much on a single ingredient provided by a large market, it may face specific challenges. When upstream planting is disturbed by weather or war, problems will arise in the raw materials supply chain, and prices will also drop. Fluctuations ensue.
Kerry said it was reaching out to customers to find powerful alternative ingredients to save businesses from the stress of supply chain disruptions. The company also gave an example of the impact of the lack of sunflower lecithin, saying that a plant-based beverage manufacturer encountered a shortage of sunflower lecithin raw materials, resulting in a significant increase in raw material input costs and a general rise in production costs.
According to Kerry, there is an urgent need for a cost-competitive alternative to sunflower lecithin that can meet clean label requirements.
Many companies talked about the supply of sunflower lecithin.
In addition to Kerry, Lecico, a lecithin wholesaler, also mentioned that the Russia-Ukraine war did affect the development of some lecithin. They also saw supply problems of sunflower lecithin from Ukraine, saying that they have secured alternative sources with the parent company Avril Group.
As early as June 2022, Palsgaard, a world-renowned emulsifier supplier, mentioned that the supply of sunflower lecithin was seriously affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Lecithin solutions provider Sternchemie said about 70% of the world’s sunflower lecithin production comes from Russia and Ukraine. The war between the two sides has seriously affected the supply of sunflower lecithin.
What are the alternatives to sunflower lecithin?
- Canola Alternative
Due to the supply problem of sunflower lecithin, industry experts judge that some companies may use rapeseed source or rapeseed lecithin instead because it does not cause allergies and may also be non-GMO.
Some people also think that if allergies are not a problem, some companies will choose soybean lecithin. In contrast, others may use other emulsifiers, such as monoglycerides and diglycerides, as partial functional substitutes.
From the actions of many companies, rapeseed has become the “main force” to replace sunflower lecithin.
For example, Palsgaard’s chocolate replacement solution has a sharp increase in the demand for ammonium phosphate (AMP), and sunflower oil is the main component of AMP. Hence, it uses rapeseed oil instead of sunflower oil to meet the demand for lecithin replacement. Transitional needs.
At the same time, Sternchemie is also focusing more on canola and expanding its SternPhil range, which is currently hydrolyzed sunflower lecithin and hydrolyzed soy lecithin, mainly for the growth of the plant-based products market. Because hydrolyzed lecithin is easier to incorporate into products and has excellent emulsifying properties, it can effectively interact with proteins.
- Mixed ingredient substitution
Kerry’s solution is Puremul, which consists of Gum Arabic and natural flavors and is a clean label alternative 1:1 with the functional ingredient sunflower lecithin.
According to Kerry, Puremul enables brand owners to obtain beverages with a whiter color and can maintain stability during the shelf life, providing better texture and taste. In terms of cost, it can reduce the cost by 40% compared with deoiled sunflower lecithin.
In addition to Puremul, Kerry has also launched Sherex Perform Alternative Liquid Sunflower Lecithin, which consists of canola oil and natural flavors and is designed for sliced cheese sprays.
Challenges and subsequent development of sunflower lecithin replacement
What is the alternative challenge?
Although many companies have been developing alternatives to sunflower lecithin, the alternatives still face many challenges, such as rapeseed. On the one hand, it may be of genetically modified origin. On the other hand, its availability and flavor are problematic because they taste bitter, whereas sunflower lecithin is pleasantly nutty.
In short, many of the current alternatives provide only a fraction of what sunflower lecithin does.
How will it develop in the future?
In the long run, due to the supply chain crisis, some brands may continue to adopt new solutions in the future. Some suppliers also said that if the supply of sunflower lecithin is guaranteed again, the brands may return to the original model. However, new alternatives are emerging anyway.
In view of the instability of the current international situation, in recent years, we can see the disadvantages brought about by the market’s over-reliance on a single market supply of a single component, which has also promoted the construction of localized supply chains around the world, bringing more opportunities for local companies Chance.
Where can you buy sunflower lecithin powder and its alternatives?
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