Flour is a fine powder obtained by milling and sifting starchy food grains such as wheat, rice, corn, rye, and others. Flour is used in the preparation of many food items such as bread, biscuits, cakes, pies, pastries, noodles, pasta, and others. Increasing demand for flour from fast food and processed food industry along with growth in food industry is driving the flour market. For instance, according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), food processing industry in India is estimated to reach US$ 482 billion over the forecast period. Increasing use of flour in bread and bakery products, and wide availability of raw materials is propelling the growth of flour market. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global wheat production in 2015-2016 was 735.2 million tons, which increased to 761.3 million tons in 2016-2017. Furthermore, launch of innovative products such as flours fortified with nutrients is fueling the growth of flour market. For instance, Bay State Milling Company launched HealthSens high fiber wheat flour, which was derived from wheat with high amylose content in June 2017.
However, increasing consumption of gluten free products, owing to gluten intolerance and celiac disease along with health benefits of gluten free diet such as weight loss are the factors restraining growth of global flour market. According to Canada Celiac Association, around 22% of Canadians avoided gluten and around 6% of Canadians suffered from gluten sensitivity in 2013. This is increasing the demand for gluten-free flour such as rice flour.
Flour Market Taxonomy
Based on product type, flour market is segmented into
- Wheat flour
- Rice flour
- Oat flour
- Maize flour
- Rye flour
Based on application, flour market is segmented into
- Noodles and Pasta
- Sweets and Desserts
Based on technology, flour market is segmented into
- Dry technology
- Wet technology
Wheat flour is the largest product type segment, owing to the presence of wide range of nutrients such as dietary fibers and health benefits such as reduction in cholesterol levels. Food segment accounted for highest market share in 2016, owing to use of flour in bakery products, baby food, and others. Dry milling technology was the largest technology segment in 2016, due to its low complexity as compared to wet milling process. Furthermore, it provides maximum surface area for processing and requires low capital cost. Dry milling is utilized for different types of grains without altering the operating characteristics of the machine.
Flour market Outlook
- In 2016, Europe held major share in global flour market and is estimated to uphold its supremacy over the forecast period. Increasing consumption of bakery products and growing demand for different types of flour from restaurants, cafes, and others are expected to accelerate growth of flour market in this region. According to NABIM (National Association of British and Irish Millers), UK flour milling industry’s annual revenue was around US$ 1.73 billion in 2017. According to European Millers Association, around 30% of flour is used by bakeries, followed by 14% biscuit and rusk manufacturers.
- Increasing demand for flour from bakery and other industries is driving the flour market in North America. According to Government of Canada, total revenue from bread and bakery products in Canada in 2014 was US$ 6.5 billion, which increased to US$ 6.8 billion in 2015. Furthermore, market players are launching new products to cater the growing demand for flour in food industry. For instance, in April 2014, CF Global Holdings (CFG) launched Coffee Flour, an innovative flour derived from coffee cherries.
- Asia Pacific is a lucrative flour market, owing to significant demand for flour from food industry. According to the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), food services industry in India is expected to reach US$ 68.16 billion by 2018. Furthermore, wide availability of raw materials such as grains is propelling growth of flour market in this region. For instance, according to Food and Agriculture Organization, China is the largest producer of wheat and rice globally in 2015-2016. China produced around 192 million tons of rice and 109 million tons of wheat in 2015-2016.
Companies operating in the global flour market are adopting different strategies such as joint ventures, merger and acquisitions, and new product launches for the expansion of business. For instance, Kuantan Flour Mills Bhd collaborated with Shou Guang Chang Tai Economic and Trade Co Ltd for the expansion of premix and starch flour business in China in February 2018.
Major players operating in flour market include Ardent Mills, LLC, Conagra Brands, Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co., General Mills Inc., Willmar International Limited, Associated British Foods plc, Hindustan Unilever Limited, ITC Limited, Hayden Flour Mills. LLC, and Grain Craft, Inc. among others.
- 2016: Merger/Acquisition: Ardent Mills, a flour manufacturer in Unites States is set to acquire Mondelz Canada flour mill, based in Ontario, Canada to produce soft and hard wood for the customers based in Canada.
- 2015: Agreement/Partnership: General mills, based in Minnesota, United States planned partnerships with large organic flour manufacturers in United States which will aim to add organic flour in company’s portfolio
- Joint Venture: Prominent flour manufacturer, Willmar International Limited, headquartered in Singapore proposed a joint venture with leading manufacturers Ruchi Soya and Adani Wilmar for sales and marketing purposes.