Air drying is a natural way to preserve food without using any artificial preservatives. Unlike dehydration, the air-dried food isn’t dried with heat, whereas it is air-dried in low temperatures in order to remove the moisture via evaporation. Air-dried food can be obtained from different types of techniques, including hot air drying, two-stage air drying, and microwave drying, among others. The air-dried food retains most of its appearance and color as compared to the original food, which is mostly due to the absence of moisture in the food. When the food is sufficiently dried, the absence of moisture hinders the growth of various microorganisms, such as molds, yeast, and bacteria. Thus, helping in increasing the shelf life of the food.
The continuously changing lifestyle, rapidly growing population, coupled with the improving consumer spending, especially across the developing economies, such as India, Brazil, China, and Argentina, are expected to be the key drivers influencing the market growth. Additionally, changing eating habits in regards to increasing health concerns and the readiness to pay premium prices for healthy food provides an impetus to the market growth.
Also, the exponential growth of the e-commerce platform has provided ease in access to a variety of packaging materials, which is further encouraging the growth of the air-dried food across the online platform. Since the consumers are inclining towards buying goods from online retail, it can be predicted that the growth of the online retail sector will further add fuel to the market growth. This change in consumer behavior has also reflected on the need for change in the landscape of the air-dried food market. In line with this, umpteen manufactures in the industry are now focusing on reshaping their business models and inclining more towards sales through online retail. The manufacturers are also focusing on the development of advanced packaging materials, including paper packets and wooden packaging, to increase their customer base.
The coffee bean segment holds the highest market on account of the increasing popularity of the spray drying technique used in the processing of spray-dried instant coffee powders. The spray-dried technique offers shorter drying time and a massive economic scale of production as compared to freeze-drying, owing to which a large number of manufacturers in the industry are now focusing on the adoption of such technologies. Additionally, the demand for coffee has witnessed rapid growth in recent years, which is primarily driven by its increasing popularity among the young population, especially in India and China.
The powder and granules segment spearheads the air-dried food market during the forecast period due to the increasing consumption of powder and granules in bakery and beverage items to enhance the flavor, taste, and nutritional value. The rising concern and health-conscious among individuals regarding their food consumption drive market growth. The chunks/pieces, on the other hand, is projected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period as itis predominately used for the manufacturing of ready-to-eat food items.
The Asia-Pacific region is anticipated to be the fastest-growing market for air-dried food on account of the rising number of two-income families and the growing base of the female labor force. In recent years, the rapid industrialization across the region has strengthened the presence of various industries in the food and beverage sector, which is further driving the market growth. China, India, Japan, and Australia are spearheading the market on account of improving purchasing power, changing consumer lifestyle, the influence of western lifestyle, and rising health considerations. The region is also backed by the presence of leading market players that are actively working on expanding their consumer base.
The air-dried food market in North America is primarily driven by the growing consumption of convenience food and healthy snacks, busy lifestyles, and the presence of strong distribution channels and key players. In addition, growing health-related problems, such as obesity, have compelled consumers to shift towards healthy eating habits. As per the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4% from 1999–2000 to 2017–2018, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2% during the same period. This is further driving the demand for low-calorie and air-dried food, further providing an impetus to the market growth.