Spirulina has a high protein and vitamin content, making it an excellent dietary supplement for vegetarian or vegan diets. Spirulina has antioxidant and inflammation-fighting properties and helps regulate the immune system.
In recent years, a growing trend towards vegetarianism and veganism has arisen worldwide, increasing awareness of health, the environment, and compassion for animals. Moreover, it is considered that around 8% of the world population is vegetarian. In 2021, ~14% of the world's population was vegetarian (Source: Vegan Society). Similarly, around 31-40% of India's population is considered vegetarian. In Europe, vegans are ~6% of the total population, and vegetarians are ~12%.
In the U.S., in the last three years, there has been a 600% increase in people identifying themselves as vegans (Source: Food Revolution Network). In 2014, only 1% of U.S. consumers claimed to be vegans, and in 2020 that number rose to 9%. In addition, according to the Vegan Society, in 2021, in the U.K., 9% population followed a vegan diet. Between 2014 and 2020, Germany registered a 16.5% growth in its vegan population. In 2020, ~1.7 million Canadians were vegetarians out of a population of 38.7 million (Source: Dalhousie University). A further 0.85 million consumers classed themselves as vegans in Canada. The preliminary draft of Canada’s new Food Guide, released in 2017 by the Canadian government, favored plant-based foods.
Along with an environmentally responsible option, spirulina can technically be consumed by a larger portion of the consumer population than traditional whey or casein-based protein powders. According to the FDA, spirulina contains significant calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, and iron.
Moreover, high amounts of complete vegetable protein and various vitamins, calcium, and iron make spirulina dietary supplements popular among vegetarians and vegans. It also has essential amino acids (compounds that are the building blocks of proteins). For instance, research has shown that dried spirulina contains 70% protein by weight, almost three times more protein than beef. While veganism and vegetarianism are generally considered healthy diets, the less health-conscious individuals will tend to develop deficiencies in some very essential nutrients, such as iron, and are more likely to develop anemia. A daily intake of spirulina can fill these gaps in a single dose, with an unusual amount of nutritional value. Consuming spirulina over prolonged periods stores proteins as a backup in case of an unbalanced diet. At the same time, it strengthens the immune system and the digestive system and improves the body’s ability to absorb essential substances that vegans and vegetarians are constantly looking to preserve to maintain their health.
Thus, with the growing vegetarianism trend, the demand for spirulina as a great source of protein is also expected to increase significantly in the upcoming years.
In terms of value, the spirulina market is expected to reach $1.10 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 9.4% from 2023 to 2030, while in terms of volume, this market is expected to reach 102,381.3 tons by 2030, at a CAGR of 8.0% from 2023 to 2030, according to the latest publication of Meticulous Research®.
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