(also known carrageenin) is a family of linear sulphated polysaccharides that extracted from red seaweeds such as eucheuma cottonii, eucheuma spinosum, etc., with an ability to form gel, stabilize, thicken, emulsify, film, which applied as gelling, thickening, stabilizing, emulsifying or suspending agent in food, daily chemical and pharm industry.
As the raw material of carrageenan, about 95 percent of eucheuma cottoniis are relying on artificial breeding, only 5 percent are wild. Global production of eucheuma cottonii increases with a growth rate of about 7.5 percent annually in recent years, and most of them are in six Asian countries (China, Indonesia, Philippines, Korea, Japan, and Malaysia).
The Philippines used to be the largest carrageenan seaweed farming country, accounting for 72 percent of world production in 2000. Its share declined to 32 percent in 2010 following the rapid expansion of carrageenan seaweed farming in Indonesia. Kappapbycus is the main cultivated species in the Philippines. However, Indonesian decided to limit exports of raw dried seaweeds in 2011, to encourage the build of new processing facilities for carrageenan and increase the exports of the value-added product.
In 2018, Southeast Asia (primarily the Philippines and Indonesia) is the largest carrageenan production area in the world, accounting for 58% of global production with an average annual growth rate of 5%. China with an annual output of 29.4 K MT (25% share). The total annual production capacity of these carrageenan-producing countries is 116.7 K MT.
Developed countries are the main consuming regions.
The North America is the world's largest consumer market in recent years. Its consumption volume holds the 34.6% of the global market. Followed by the Europe, mainly concentrated in south of the Mediterranean and the United Kingdom, whose sales account for 27% of the world.
As the raw materials mainly rely on imports, the price of the US and Europe is relatively high. In contrast, the price of South America and Southeast Asia is lower. China’s raw materials now also mainly rely on import, so the ex-factory price is relatively high. While Chinese consumption is limited, the sale-price is not so high. China has a huge market potential of carrageenan.