It is reported by foodnavigator-usa.com that the Tokyo-based DIC Corporation claims to be the world’s largest producer of spirulina, which has finished building a $10m state-of-the-art extraction plant for the blue-green algae in southern California to meet growing demand for natural blue food colors – with commercial production expected to begin in September.
While other fruit & vegetable-based natural blue colors have been available to US manufacturers for some time, demand for spirulina extract has surged in the past 18 months following moves by the FDA to approve its use in a wide variety of foodstuffs, said DIC.
“DIC estimates that the global market for natural blue food coloring will double between now and 2018, by which time it also expects the DIC Group’s share of this market to expand to 50%, from 20% at present.”
The new extraction facility – which will produce DIC’s Linablue natural blue food coloring from phycocyanin, a blue colorant extracted from spirulina using a water extraction process – is next door to the spirulina farm of DIC’s US subsidiary Earthrise Nutritionals, a leading player in the spirulina dietary supplements market.
Currently, DIC makes Linablue in Hainan Island in China, where it operates another Spirulina Extract production facility. However, having a second extraction facility in California will enable it to respond more effectively to demand in the US, said the firm, which has been operating at full capacity at the Hainan Island site for some time.
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