Since the first conference in 1994, executives from key end-users of hydrocolloids such as Kraft-Heinz, Danone, Nestle and Unilever have been amongst the carefully selected range of speakers. This year will also focus on the innovative start-ups in the industry. The conference provides a neutral forum for suppliers and users of hydrocolloids to meet. They exchange views on the strengths, weaknesses and future requirements of this industry. About 100-120 high level hydrocolloid executives from all parts of the globe attend the conference.
The global market for food hydrocolloids is valued at around US$7.0-7.5 BILLION depending on market conditions and prices. Some hydrocolloids like methylcellulose and gellan gum are exhibiting double digit growth. Much of their growth is by the increasing popularity of plant based foods. Plant proteins behave differently from animal proteins and require different texturant solutions. Consumers of plant based foods want the same textural properties while getting the feel good benefit of not consuming animal derived food. Hydrocolloids are a key element in achieving these goals. Protein/hydrocolloid interactions in these innovative applications have created a texture knowledge gap which food manufacturers and hydrocolloids suppliers are scrambling to address. These hot topics and many others will be covered by many of the speakers at the conference.
The price and availability of some hydrocolloids remain volatile each for different reasons. The plant based trend has created a tightness in supply for methylcellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and gellan gum. While pectin prices have returned to average thanks to a softness in its raw material price, locust bean gum prices have remained at all-time highs creating opportunities for tara gum and guar. Other hydrocolloids have suffered severe price increases based on their country of origin due to the uncertainty of the trade war between the US and China. Swine fever has decimated Chinese herds and has had an impact on pork gelatin. The shift away from leather in luxury cars has also affected bovine gelatin prices. Gelatin prices remain relatively high in the US due to high demand for collagen.
The IMR Hydrocolloid Conference in San Francisco, April 26-28, 2020 will provide valuable information about what the key market players are doing to remain competitive and maintain profitability. Delegates at previous conferences have gained an independent and accurate look at critical markets, customers, and competitors as issues surrounding the industry are discussed.