Spirulina is a nutritional supplement, majorly obtained from the two species of cyanobacteria, including arthrospira maxima and arthrospira platensis. Spirulina is defined as a type of algae that grows naturally in the alkaline waters of lakes, ponds, and rivers in warm regions. Spirulina is associated with high nutritional value, including vitamins A, C, E, and B12, and minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and essential lipids. Arthrospira is used in dietary supplements, as whole food, and is available in varied forms such as capsules, tablets, flakes, powder, and liquids.
Growing awareness regarding the health benefits of spirulina super food among consumers and wide variety of natural colors produced by spirulina are the major factors propelling growth of the spirulina market. Spirulina comprises high anti-oxidant, hypolipidemic, beta-carotene, and anti-inflammatory properties. Owing to exceptional properties, spirulina offers health benefits including reduced cholesterol and blood pressure.
As spirulina has a high content of a natural pigments that imparts blue color and is combined with other colors, in order to obtain new customized colors such as lavender, violet, and green. However, the blue spirulina color is used extensively in the food and beverages industry and is the most popular natural food color in the region.
Furthermore, growing demand for spirulina powder among vegetarian consumers as spirulina is a 100% vegetarian dietary supplement. On the basis of form, the global spirulina market is segmented into powder, tablets/capsules, liquids, and granules. The powder segment held a dominant position, in terms of volume, in 2016 due to its ease of application as compared to the liquid form.
On the basis of composition, the market is segmented into protein, carbohydrates, minerals, lipids, and others, with protein being the major contributor, as of 2016. This is majorly due to its high protein content and presence of all essential amino acids with fewer amounts of cysteine, lysine, and methionine as compared to standard proteins, including milk, eggs or meat. However, the spirulina protein is superior to all standard plant protein, including legumes.