Lutein is amongst the 600 known carotenoids that exist naturally. It’s a xanthophyll. Plants synthesize lutein; that too, green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, yellow carrots. Ingestion of plants results in transfer of lutein to animals. It is naturally found in certain animal fats and egg yolk as well. As far as human retina is concerned, lutein gets absorbed into macula lutea (from blood). The factor basically driving the lutein market is the ever-increasing demand for ocular health supplements containing lutein.
The other factor boosting the lutein market is the consumers’ awareness regarding the fact that lutein helps in prevention of AMD (age-related macular degeneration). This, in turn, drives the “food and beverages” sector; as customers are more inclined toward foodstuff containing lutein. North America rules the lutein market; thanks to utmost importance given to healthcare by the federal government of the U.S. and people alike. As per NHANES survey for 2013-14; adults all over the U.S. consume 1.7 mg/day of zeaxanthin and lutein combined.
The European Union, Australia, and New Zealand have approved usage of lutein extracted from Tagetes Erecta (African Marigold) as one of the food additives. Lutein has been assigned INS number 161b (E number E161b) therein. As of now, the organized end-users of lutein market are summed up as fish and animal feed, pet food, dietary supplement, and pharmaceuticals. In the pharmaceutical industry, lutein is proving to be helpful in nurturing skin. As per scientists at Nebraska Medical Center, a healthy combination of zeaxanthin and lutein also nurtures the brain; as it goes without saying that brain and eyes are correlated.
The key players like Zhejiang Medicine, OmniActive, Chr. Hansen, E.I.D. Parry are eying inorganic mode of expansion. Something concrete like mergers & acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures is expected to come up in this regard in the near future.