Betaine is naturally present in few vegetables, and few types of seafood and whole grains. Betaine is available in two types, natural and synthetic; and is widely used in food and feed industries, personal care products, and detergents. Synthetic betaine is largely used as an ingredient in cosmetics such as shampoos, hand washes, and detergents, whereas natural betaine is widely used in food applications such as drinks, cereal products, confectionary, and dairy products. The use of betaine in industrial applications has driven the market to a large extent.
Betaine is also a mild surfactant, which causes less irritation of skin and eyes, and is used at very low concentrations in personal care products. The application of betaine in cosmetics is the reason for the growing popularity of betaine market , globally. Also, betaine as a feed ingredient is projected to dominate the regions where feed is required in large quantities, as it is considered to reduce heat-related stress in the animals.
The application of betaine in the food industry is driven by its increasing use in dietary supplements and sports drinks. It is used in OTC (over-the-counter) products such as a stomach acidifier and digestive aid due to the lack of substantial evidences to recognize its safety and effectivity in food products. FDA has approved that betaine hydrochloride can be consumed as a dietary supplement. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has accepted the use of betaine in food products, with a maximum dosage from 1% to 7%, based on the type of the food product to be consumed.
The key market players such as Associated British Foods plc (U.K.) and DuPont (U.S.) invest largely in their R&D programmes in order to introduce new and different grades of natural betaine. The natural betaine is obtained from sugar beet molasses. The increasing cost of raw materials, that is molasses, due to a decrease in sugar beet production has resulted in increasing agreements and collaborations in the market, for raw material sourcing.