Drive for Prevention to Fuel Food Safety Diagnostics

This article is based on information in Kalorama Information’s Food Safety Diagnostics Market Report (https://www. Safety-Diagnostics-12090767/ ).  

Food safety concerns are increasing globally as international food trading is growing at a fast pace. Industrialization of food consumption is another major trend in many countries including several emerging markets, which in turn is pushing the growth of international food trading. The rising middle-class population demand for convenient foods such as packaged, ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook types of food is the main driver of the growing food industrialization trend globally. These market trends have created a high demand for ensuring safety in the entire food supply chain, one of the major challenges today for food manufacturers who are trying to balance the cost for complying with stringent regulatory requirements in various markets in the highly price sensitive food industry.

Food safety awareness and precautionary actions are increasingly becoming important for food processors to survive in the food industry. Foodborne diseases are major concerns even in developed markets such as that of the US, in spite of having well-established regulatory systems. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 10 people fall sick due to foodborne illnesses every year. The average financial toll due to food recalls is estimated to be $10-15 million for a large-scale food manufacturer if the company’s products are found contain contamination or labelling noncompliance. The cost can be much higher depending upon the severity of the safety issue.

There is an increasing focus on prevention strategies by both the food industry and regulatory agencies globally to avoid food-related health burden and related recalls.  This is creating a significant demand for fast and accurate food safety testing technologies. Food companies are becoming more open to investing in effective testing platforms and integrating them with their food manufacturing processes. Regulatory systems are also insisting on precautions to prevent rather than merely react to incidences of foodborne illnesses.

Based on our recent assessment, the global food safety testing markets are expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% from $12.5 billion in 2018 to $17.5 billion in 2023. One of the main driving factors for this growth is the increasing focus on food safety by all key stakeholders in the food supply chain as a result of the US FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which even demands that importers be responsible for the food they bring to the US market. Other countries are following the suit and are making necessary modifications to their existing regulatory landscape so that prevention is given prime consideration. The positive impact such measures are making in terms of protecting public health is becoming evident.

For example, the ISO Cooperation Agreement Program (ISO CAP) initiated by FDA as a part of FSMA to increase its analytical capacities to ensure safety was instrumental in preventing a potential foodborne outbreak due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination in 2015. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) was conducting routine inspection on Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in conjunction with the ISO CAP Accreditation program and happened to detect the deadly bacteria in the ice cream samples. NDA took quick action by compiling and tracing previous results, though those results were not as detailed as the ISO testing result, which had multiple and stricter criteria. NDA and Jeni’s quickly recalled all the batches of the product and thus prevented a potential outbreak that could have become serious. This is a classic example of how FSMA could be effective, preventing rather than responding after outbreaks have occurred.

While traditional microbiology-based testing account for a large share of the food safety testing markets in terms of the number of tests conducted, mainly in the pathogen and quality indicator (QI) organisms testing segments, the market size for this segment by value is lower than other technology segments such as immunoassay-based, molecular-based and chemistry analyzer-based segments. Immunoassays accounted for the largest market share of the global food safety testing markets by technology type, while molecular-based methods are expected to have higher growth rate, at a CAGR of 8.7% during 2018-2023.

In terms of contaminant type, pathogen testing accounted for over 30% of the market share. However, the fastest growing segment is forecasted to be GMO testing, in line with the increasing demand for Non-GMO labelled food globally. Many food companies are intent on tapping this market opportunity as it can fetch premium pricing options for them. The unprecedented growth of a health-conscious middle class all over the world is a major factor that is expected to create a fast-growing demand for effective GMO testing platforms, which are mostly depending upon relatively expensive molecular-based methods.

Residue testing accounts for the second largest segment of food safety testing markets mainly due to the increasing focus of pesticide and veterinary drug residues testing in major APAC countries such as China, India, ASEAN, etc.This segment is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 6.7% during 2018-2023.

In terms of food type, the processed foods segment is estimated to account for the largest share, closely followed by the meat, poultry & seafood segment. These are expected to grow at CAGR of 6.2% and 7.2%, respectively, during 2018-2023. The dairy products segment is also growing fast at a CAGR of 7% during 2018-2023.

Regionally, the North American market is estimated to be the largest regional market, followed by that of Europe. APAC is the fastest growing market, which is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 8.6% during 2018-2023. Emerging markets in the Rest of World segment, including the Middle East, Brazil, South Africa, etc., are also showing an increased focus on food safety testing as the number of foodborne illnesses increase. The recent Listeriacontamination of cold meat-based processed foods in South Africa, which led to 180 deaths, is a typical prompt for increased food safety concerns in markets as processed food demand is grows. The product recall-related financial loss is another factor that leads to increased awareness of food safety issues. A recent ban of poultry exported from Brazil by many of their targeted markets, including that of Europe, due to Salmonella contamination is another example of how food safety awareness is becoming an important factor for the survival of businesses in the food industry.