The corn wet milling market is expected to grow globally at a considerable CAGR over the forecast period. Key drivers for this market are the burgeoning demand for High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in processed beverages and food, MEAI – based animal feed products, prolific use of corn starch in sundry applications, and corn ethanol in biofuel. On the other hand, high energy consumption and the large capital investment needed are restraining market growth. Hazardous emissions which are a by-product of the process pose to be a challenge for the market. The market ecosystem is comprised of corn product manufacturers, regulatory bodies, and the end user industries. This is a horizontal market with different industry verticals including food & beverages, animal feed, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, textiles, and personal care.
Corn wet milling process involves production of corn oil, corn starch, fiber, and protein from corn. The chronological steps in corn wet milling process are cleaning, steeping, germ recovery, fiber recovery, Gluten recovery, starch processing, and co-product manufacture. Thus, four main components – starch, fiber, germ, and gluten (protein) are separated. The protein rich extract produced from steeping is used in animal feed and probiotic products. Oil is recovered from germ and used in corn margarines, and the residual germ feed is a good source of amino acids used in animal feed for adding nutrients. Fiber recovered is known as Gluten feed which is used as edible corn fiber and in animal feed. Millstarch obtained during gluten recovery is used in zein products. Co-product is manufactured by mixing fibre, concentrated steepwater, and germ meal, and is termed as corn gluten feed. The ongoing research for improving the corn wet milling process includes adding protease enzymes and phytic acid degrading enzyme during steeping process to reduce steeping time, and has presented a two-stage procedure.
Corn wet milling market is segmented on the basis of application, source, end product, equipment, and the geographical region. The segments based on application are feed, food, and industrial. The segments based on source are waxy corn and dent corn. End products are starches, ethanol, sweeteners, gluten meal, gluten feed, step liqor, corn oil, and corn germ meal. Equipment based segments include milling equipment, washing and filtration systems, steeping equipment, centrifuge systems, and other equipment.
Amongst the application based segments, feed application leads the current market. This can be attributed to growing demand for feed containing animal proteins in the meat industry, and gluten meal has abundant proteins. Dent corn is widely used for producing corn syrup and ethanol. Centrifuge systems used for starch recovery have so far dominated the market. Sweeteners hold the largest market share and will continue to ace the market in the forecast period. Application of corn sweeteners in the food industry is driving market growth. North America currently leads the corn wet milling market due to presence of various end user industries. Asia Pacific is expected to have a linear growth over the forecast period. China and Brazil are considered to be lucrative markets in the forecast period.
Key players in the corn wet milling industry are Ingredion Inc, Global Bio-chem Group of Companies Ltd, Cargill, Agrana, Tate & Lyle, Bunge, Roquette Freres, China Agri Industries Holdings Ltd, Grain Processing Corporation and Archer Daniels Midland Company. Amongst the latest M&A activity, Archer Daniels Midland Company acquired Eaststarch CV in April 2015 and Tate & Lyle PLC in February 2016. Roquette Freres acquired Riddhi Siddhi Gluco Biols Ltd in 2012, Jungbunzlauer Swiss AG acquired Ingerdion’s corn wet milling facility in Canada in December 2015, Agrana acquired SCAGFD Tandarei SRL in 2002.
Research Support Specialist, USA