Demand for food safety products in the US is forecast to increase 7.3% annually to $4.5 billion in 2016, according to a new study byThe Freedonia Group, ( ) a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

The report says that solid gains will be the result of increased public awareness following recent highly publicized multistate outbreaks of food borne illnesses; the need to comply with provisions of the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA); and industry initiatives that will provide a strong impetus for companies to improve their food safety practices. Additionally, growth will be driven by challenges arising from the increasingly global nature of the food supply, which adds complexity and the potential for the introduction of new pathogens from different regions.

Among major food safety product segments, smart labels and tags, and software and tracking systems are expected to experience the fastest gains, reflecting a heightened emphasis on traceability in the food supply chain. Smart label and tag demand will be boosted by traceability advantages along with expanded usage in food packaging to reduce losses in perishable foods. Opportunities will also exist in the livestock market as a result of the need for improved traceability of animals to their point of origin. Gains for software and tracking systems will be supported by increased US Food and Drug Administration recordkeeping requirements. 

Food processing plants encompass the largest market by far, accounting for 60% of total food safety product demand in the US in 2011. Meat applications account for the largest share of demand in this segment. Robust growth is anticipated for diagnostic products in meat applications based on microbiological testing necessitated by Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations and implementation of a new US Department of Agriculture policy that will expand routine sampling of beef to include six additional E. coli strains. The smaller fresh prepared food market will log rapid advances, supported by increases in production and consumer demand for convenient meal options. Among other food safety markets, the farm market will present the strongest opportunities, the result of expanded disinfection and pathogen testing activities among produce growers following several multistate outbreaks of food borne illnesses in the past several years.