Feed Phytogenics – A revolution in the feed industry

Feeding natural feed to livestock has been a common practice since prehistoric times. However, the forms and types of natural feed and the use of feed additives have changed significantly over time. The ban on the use of antibiotics in feed in developed regions such as Europe and North America has triggered the popularity of feed phytogenics as favorable alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters. Based on industry research on livestock nutrition and customer requirements, feed formulators emphasize the importance and benefits of feed phytogenics in animal nutrition.
So what exactly are feed phytogenics?
Phytogenics are non-antibiotic feed additives derived from plant sources such as leaves, roots, tubers, or fruits, herbs & spices (predominantly used in animal feed) and are added to the feed in order to improve animal performance.They are available in solid, dried, or ground form; as extracts; or as essential oils.
Benefits of Feed Phytogenics:
Phytogenics help in improving the taste and aroma of feed, thereby increasing feed intake and accelerating digestion activity in livestock, ultimately improving livestock growthand development.
Phytogenics mitigate ammonia gas emission from livestock litter and are thus favored for sustainable livestock production.
Feed phytogenics have other benefits as well: such as antimicrobial action, enhancement of immune system, stimulation of gastric juices, reduction of gut bacteria, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Technological Advancement in Feed Phytogenics Industry
Feed phytogenic additives have positive effects on livestock health but are often difficult to process in the feed. Many sources of phytogenics, especially essential oils, are sensitive substances that lose their efficacy and efficiency, owing to their vulnerability to high temperatures, pungent odor, and oxidative and volatile properties. Emergence of new technologies such as encapsulation can extend the shelf life of phytogenics which allows essential oils to have a longer shelf life by protecting them from environmental changes by keeping the liquid, gaseous, or solid substance packed ina tiny millimetric capsule. Along with protection from extreme environmental factors, encapsulation also results in enhancement of palatability, stability in ration, and improved digestion.
Key feed phytogenics players such as Biomin Holding Gmbh (Austria) and Kemin Industries (U.S.) are implementing encapsulation to provide better quality phytogenics. The encapsulation process helps producers and animal growers to overcome the problem of efficacy and efficiency of livestock,which in turn is driving the market for feed phytogenics, globally.
Market Drivers for Feed Phytogenics
The increasing demand for animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs has created significant pressure on livestock farmers to improve the productivity of livestock. On the other hand, the increasing feed prices are adding to the dilemma of optimizing productivity by keeping expenses minimal, for farmers. Feed phytogenics are the best option available to minimize dairy farm feed expenses by improving feed digestion and feed conversion ratio.
The increasing commercialization of the livestock sector, from feeding to processing, has created significant demand for feed phytogenics in the global market. The growth of the retail food sector due to increasing purchasing power of consumers—as a result of industrialization and globalization—is a key driver of the demand for processed meat and dairy products.
Consumers around the world are becoming concerned about the quality of food they are purchasing due to increasing instances of E. coli and Salmonella traces in meat and dairy products. Hence, they prefer processed meat and dairy products since they are produced under hygienic conditions. Thus, feeding livestock animals with natural source-based feed additives has created massive potential for feed phytogenics. Even though phytogenics are a relatively young class of feed additives, they are gaining interest within the livestock feed sector due to R&D activities by manufacturers and related government organizations.
Livestock producers in the European and North American regions are switching to organic feed inputs for sustainable livestock production. Feed additive manufacturers in these regions are exploring potential applications of phytogenics to adhere to stringent rules & regulations laid down by the European Union and the FDA (U.S.). Demand for feed phytogenics in these regions is increasing and there are limited manufacturers producing these niche feed additives.
Increasing concerns related to side effects as a result of prolonged use of chemical feed additives is another major driving factor for feed phytogenics. The market for feed additives is highly regulated in the European and North American regions. The European Union has stringent regulations related to the use of chemical feed additives. Producers of feed phytogenics are required to adhere to strict regulations related to regional and national health and safety for product approvals in developed nations; which ultimately affects the cost of the final product.
Market Potential of Feed Phytogenics
Considering the increasing demand for livestock products in the future, the demand for phytogenics is projected to increase significantly.The European region is estimated to account for the largest share in the feed phytogenics market at USD 138.40 million in 2015. This market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.2% during the forecast period. Increased awareness about meat quality among consumers and increased meat consumption across the globe are expected to provide more scope for market expansion. Factors such as high demand for nutritive feed and sustainable animal nutrition products, increasing livestock population, and management of feed operating cost are also driving the growth of the feed phytogenics market.
North America is the second-largest market for feed phytogenics after the European region. It is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% during the forecast period. The Southeast Asia-Pacific market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% from 2015 to 2020. The demand for feed phytogenics has been augmented by the practice of selective breeding in the region.
The key players in this market have been developing a range of innovative products to target specific animal needs. Thus, the feed phytogenics market is gaining more global presence and acceptance among customers. Key participants in the feed phytogenics market include Cargill, Inc. (U.S.), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (U.S.), BIOMIN Holding GmbH (Austria.), Delacon Biotechnik GmbH (Austria), and Phytobiotics Futterzusatzstoffe GmbH (Germany). These players have been implementing different strategies to achieve growth in the feed phytogenics market.
Through strategies such as new product developments, research agreements, expansions, and acquisitions, companies have been expanding their global presence and boosting their technological & operational capabilities in the market. Manufacturers have excellent opportunities to diversify their product portfolio, incorporating feed phytogenics, in these regions.

by Pratik Gurnani, Research Analyst, Markets & Markets