Phytosterols is collective term for plant-derived sterols and stanols that are found in the fatty tissues of plants. There are more than 200 different type of phytosterols, the highest concentrations of phytosterols are found naturally in beans, nuts and vegetable oils. Phytosterols have similar chemical structure as cholesterol. The basic difference between phytosterols and cholesterol is the absorption levels in the blood. Human and animal cannot synthesize phytosterols that’s why they need to be included in the diet.
However, phytosterols are absorbed in at lower rate than that of cholesterol. Phytosterols have many health benefits for instance it helps to reduce the cholesterol level, daily taking of 2-3 g sterols and stanols can lower coronary heart disease risk by around 20 percent for a lifetime. Lower cholesterol also leads to other benefits, such as a reduced risk for heart disease and heart attacks. Also it is good for cancer patients since it protects against the development of cancer, it is also observed that phytosterols prevents ovarian, breast, stomach and lung cancer.
It has also been identified that phytosterols consist of antioxidants and good for skin protection and anti-aging as well. Benefits of phytosterols are so recognized that foods are being fortified with phytosterols. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted plant sterols/stanols as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), and the European Union Scientific Committee on Foods concluded phytosterol esters margarines and dairy products are safe for human consumption.
On the basis of phytosterols market is segmented into beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol and others (avenasterol, ergosterol, cycloartenol and brassicasterol). Beta-sitosterol is the largest market segment followed by campesterol. Beta-sitosterol and campesterol together holds more than 90 percent of the market share in terms of value. On the basis of application phytosterols market is segmented into food, pharmaceutical cosmetics and feed industry. Food industry holds the highest market share in terms of both value and volume, accounting around 50 percent of the market share in terms of volume.
Geographically phytosterols market is segmented into North America, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Asia Pacific excluding Japan, Japan and Middle East & Africa. Western Europe is the largest market share holder of phytosterols which is around 50 percent in terms of value in the year 2012 followed by North America and Asia Pacific.The phytosterols market surging with high growth rate due to its nutritional benefits. The growth of phytosterols market is driven by growing customer awareness about phytosterols and attraction towards healthy food. Also increase in cardiovascular diseases are another reason for growth of the market.
The high-growth prospect in emerging markets Such as Brazil, China, and India also untapped regions such as Middle East, South East Asia of Asia Pacific provides new growth opportunities for market players in phytosterols. Demand for phytosterols has been growing owing to its benefits, where there is no as such restraints for the market.Many small, medium and large players are operating in the phytosterols market, however the market is majorly dominated by a few players such as BASF SE, Raisio Plc., Bunge Limited; some other players of phytosterols market are Archer Daniels Midland Company and DuPont Nutrition & Health.
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