Global High Fructose Corn Syrup - Insights
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), also known as glucose-fructose is a sweetener made manufactured from corn starch processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose. The sweetener is widely used in food industry a replacement for sucrose. Production quotas of domestic sugar, import tariff on foreign sugar, and subsidies of U.S. corn are some of the factors responsible for increasing demand for HFCS. Moreover, raise in the price of sucrose compared to HFCS also contributes to high usage of HFCS. HFCS is used most commonly in soft drinks and is the primary ingredient in most brands of commercial pancake syrups.
The manufacturing process of HFCS is easier to handle and more cost-effective than table sugar. The U.S Food and Drug Administration has determined HFCS as a safe ingredient for food and beverage manufacturing. However, rise in consumption of low calorie foods and beverage items is one of the major factors restraining the growth of the market at present. Moreover, excess consumption of added sugar in any form, including HFCS, can pose several negative effects on human health such as obesity, which is another major factor responsible for the slowdown of the high fructose corn syrup market.
HFCS 42 is the most widely used type with a market share of 42.01% in 2016, and is expected to lead the market throughout the forecast period followed by HFCS 55. It signifies that the syrup is made of 42% or 55% fructose, while the remaining sugars being glucose. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), around 90% of HFCS that is produced in the U.S is sold to the beverage industry.
The beverage industry was the major end user of high fructose corn syrup in 2016 and is expected to retain market dominance throughout the forecast period. According to Coherent Market Insights, approximately two-third of the high fructose corn syrup consumed in the U.S. is in the form of beverages.
North America was the leading region in the global high fructose corn syrup market in 2016, with a revenue of US$ 1.70 billion in the same year, and it expected to retain its supremacy throughout the forecast period. U.S. was the major contributor to the growth of this market in North America and is expected to continue its dominance throughout the forecast period. According to USDA, Economic Research Services, the U.S. exported more than 1.124 million metric tons (dry weight basis) of HFCS in the third quarter of 2017, while it exported 1.121 million metric tons (dry weight basis) of HFCS to all countries in 2016.
Europe was the second-largest market for high fructose corn syrup in 2016 with a market share of 25.29% in the same. However the share is expected to decrease over the forecast period, owing to the stringent government regulations. In 2016, the European Commission announced to reduce the added sugar content across 11 product categories by 10% in 2020. For instance, in 2016, the European Soft Drinks Industry, announced to reduce added sugars by 10% by 2020. Asia Pacific accounted for a favorable market share for high fructose corn syrup in 2016. The growth is attributed to the increase in the intake of sweetened food and beverages. Carbonated beverages recorded an impressive growth in Asia Pacific. The Coca Cola Company in China recorded volume consumption of 4.06 million tons in 2017, which marked an increase by 18% from 2016.
Figure1. Global High Fructose Corn Syrup Market Share, By Type, 2016
SOURCE: COHERENT MARKET INSIGHTS ANALYSIS (2017)
Major players in the global high fructose corn syrup market include Archer Daniels Midland Company, Cargill Inc., Tate & Lyle Plc, Global Sweeteners Holdings Limited, Ingredion Incorporated, Showa Sangyo, Japan Corn Starch Co., Ltd., Kerry Group Plc and COFCO Rongshi Bio-technology Co. Ltd among others
Some of the key strategies adopted by these companies include extensive research and development activities, tactical mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships and geographical expansions among others. In 2017, Japan Corn Starch Co. Ltd. successfully developed a new product, “HFCS 70”. This product maintains the body equal to fructose glucose liquid sugar used in many soft drinks.