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Rising Incidence of Lifestyle Disorders and the Preference for Healthy Lifestyles to Drive the Demand for Vitamin C Ingredients
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Vitamin C, also referred to as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in a number of fresh fruits and vegetables. Though primarily known for its nutritional and pharmaceutical health benefits, vitamin C also has strong antioxidant activities. Commercial vitamin C is manufactured through fermentation of glucose. Conventional manufacturing of vitamin C was carried out using the Reichstein process, a two-step process comprising a pre-fermentation step followed by chemical synthesis. However, changing consumer demand has led manufacturers to develop pure fermentation techniques, which replaced the chemical synthesis step in the Reichstein process with fermentation.Vitamin C is primarily used for its antioxidant and immunity boosting properties. The proven therapeutic role of vitamin C in improving the immune system and protecting it against cold and flu remains the primary driver. Further, research has shown vitamin C to be effective in the treatment of delayed wound or bone healing. Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to be effective in reducing blood glucose and lipids in type-2 diabetes patients. Vitamin C is also being studied for its role in cancer and in lowering the risk of developing heart disorders. Growth in clinical research and broadening of application scope is expected to drive the demand for vitamin C ingredient globally. Asia-Pacific and other developing economies are expected to witness considerable growth over the forecast period due to the improving purchasing power of the population and rising health concerns. In contrast, North America and Europe, which are the key markets for dietary supplements, are expected to witness slow growth, given the level of saturation and maturity of the ingredient category. However, clinical studies substantiating the role of vitamin C in treatment or prevention of lifestyle disorders and application of different salts of vitamin C in other application areas are expected to support a stable market adoption rate for the ingredient in developed nations. The market is highly consolidated, with Chinese manufacturers accounting for more than 90% of the production happening in China. Changing environmental regulations in China and rising production costs are expected to have a high impact on vitamin C prices. The market in the last two years has seen a strong rise in prices, and given the volatility, prices for vitamin C are expected to witness an upward trend over the forecast period. Innovation relating to identifying more sustainable raw material sources is the probable next step for manufacturers to overcome price challenges.Author: Smriti Sharma
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