Nobody likes a piece of meat with less meat! So, how do they ensure that the meat is ‘meaty’? Although the animals’ natural biological processes are efficient enough to make muscle, they need something extra…methionine. It is an amino acid, which cannot be produced within the body, so has to be added to the animal feed to promote growth and increase muscular mass. Additionally, it also promotes the production of eggs, without which a large proportion of the population can’t imagine breakfast! With the production of meat set to rise almost 70.0% of the 2017 value by 2025 as per United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the use of the amino acid is also expected to show a sharp surge across the globe.
Valuing $5,114.3 million in 2017, the worldwide methionine market is projected to show a CAGR of 10.2% in the coming years. Across the world, people are consuming an increasing amount of meat. As per the Agricultural Outlook 2018–2027, jointly published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and FAO, the global meat consumption per capita would surge 1.1 kg to 35.4 kg retail weight equivalent (rwe) by 2027. This means that the number of poultry and other animals to supply meat would also have to grow considerably. An increase in the number of animals means a direct increase in the amount of animal feed being consumed. This is predicted to create an additional demand for methionine in the coming years.
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Methionine is available as three types: DL-methionine, L-methionine, and methionine hydroxy analog (MHA). Among these, DL-methionine currently outpaces other types in consumption and will continue doing so in future as it is an important component of animal feed. However, the demand for MHA is predicted to see the sharpest increase as it helps increase the feed intake and leads to its faster digestion, thereby speeding up animal growth and maturation. This means more meat to sell in less time, which has become essential for poultry farmers to make a profit.
Now, it is not just live animals that methionine is given to, but the amino acid is also used in meat and poultry processing to increase the nutritional value. With people becoming increasingly aware of what they are eating and what effect it will have, among the first thing they check on food products’ labels is the nutritional value. Therefore, to raise the sales and give customers healthy stuff, poultry and meat processing companies are using the amino acid, specifically DL-methionine, more than ever.
Presently, Asia-Pacific stands as the largest methionine market, primarily because of the heavy production and consumption of meats in the continent, which is also why the region will continue being the largest market for the chemical. The demand for the product is also predicted to increase the most in APAC due to a further surge in meat production. The FAO and OECD had reported in 2016 that pork production would rise significantly in China. Further, beef production would rise by up to 20.0% by 2025 in developing countries, including India and China. All these factors will contribute to the growing usage of methionine in APAC over the coming years.
However, it is not just the increasing meat production that would raise the demand for the amino acid, but also the expanding pharmaceutical sector. Yes, methionine is being added to numerous drugs produced for human consumption. The chemical helps prevent liver damage in patients with acetaminophen poisoning and treat allergies, depression, alcoholism, asthma, schizophrenia, copper poisoning, radiation side effects, and drug withdrawal, and slowing down Parkinson’s disease. With all such issues becoming more prevalent in people, the usage of drugs is also growing as is the consumption of the amino acid.
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