Malt usually consists of germinated cereal grains such as barley. These grains are softened by steeping them in water and are later dried in hot air, which allows the grains to germinate. This process is called as ‘malting’. It allows the conversion of starch content within the grain to sugars such as glucose and fructose. Alternatively, it can be used for flavoring. The different types of products made using malt include malted milk, malt bread, and malt beverages such as beer, whiskey, and non-alcoholic beverages.
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Malt can be grouped into two categories based on its function, namely diastic and nondiastic. Diastic malt contains active enzymes which break starch into sugars. It is mainly used in baking goods such as breads and bagels due to the superior texture, taste, and the nutrition that it imparts to baking goods. Nondiastic powder does not contain any active enzymes, thus, there is no conversion process involved. It is commonly used in drinks for flavoring.
Since malt is used in the production of alcoholic beverages, the increasing global demand for beer has a direct effect on the malt market. The primary reason for the growing market for beer is the increasing disposable income of people. The growing acceptance of beer, coupled with increasing influence of western values in developing regions of Asia-Pacific is indirectly driving the malt market in this region. There is an increasing demand for malt in the baking goods industry with restaurants already using it in their production.
One of the major restraints of this market is the high price volatility of barley. This in turn affects the prices of beer, whiskey, and other products in which malt is used. Moreover, the global recession in the recent years also affected the malt market due to the less disposable income of consumers which resulted in lowered demand for alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, the growing popularity of wine is a threat to the malt market. Increasing awareness about the health benefits of wine is resulting in the shifting of consumer preference to this drink.
The craft beer industry has been gaining popularity over the past few years. Malt customized as per the requirement of this industry is expected to drive the market in the near future. The growing baking goods industry will also affect the malt market. Malt is increasingly being used in syrups and additives to improve the flavor of various food products.
Some of the leading malt producers include Malteurop, Soufflet, Cargill, Rahr Malting Co., United Malt Holdings, Briess Industries, GlobalMalt GmbH, and Anheuser-Busch InBev among others.
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