Goji berries are the fruits of the wolfberry or goji plants. These plants belong to the Lycium genus and are of two varieties, Lycium barbarum, and Lycium chinense. Goji berries are known by several names including wolfberry, boxthorn and matrimony vine. Goji berry plants are native to China and have a long history of consumption and use in traditional medicines. The berries gained widespread popularity in developed countries owing to their prolific vitamin, nutrient, and anti-oxidant profile.
The primary driver of the goji berry market is the health benefits that goji berries provide. They are a good source of fiber and are low in calories and fat. Due to these properties, the fruits are being increasingly used in weight management and digestive supplement products. Goji berries are also considered as ideal products for people suffering from hypertension, anxiety disorders, diabetes and common ailments such as cold and fever.
The regulatory restrictions placed by the EU and North America on goji berries import and labeling are a major drawback for the market. Most of these restrictions are due to the unreliability of China’s organic certification system, wherein the use of a certain amount of pesticides and fungicides is permitted.
The other area of regulatory focus is on labeling of products containing goji berries. In 2007, the U.K. Food Standards Agency declassified goji berries as novel foods due to the significant history of goji berry consumption prior to 1997. The agency also voiced concerns regarding the health claims usually associated with products containing goji berries as an ingredient.The goji berry market is segmented on the basis of application and product type.
On the basis of application, the market is further segmented into food and beverage, therapeutic or pharmaceutical applications, personal care products and others. The food and beverage segment occupies a significant market share due to the high and increasing use of goji berries in food and beverage products. Several health-based beverages that use goji berries as an ingredient rely on its vitamin and antioxidant profile. Personal care products represent a rapidly growing market due to the increasing consumer demand for natural, safe and effective ingredients in cosmetic products. The historically high use of goji berries in traditional medicines is a strong driver for the increasing use of these fruits in therapeutic and pharmaceutical products.
On the basis of product type, the market is segmented into direct fruit, juices, and processed products. The direct fruit segment is further segmented into raw fruit and dried fruit. The processed products segment is further segmented into purees, liquid extracts, powder extracts and others. The consumption of processed goji berries is mainly due to increasing applications in food and beverage, therapeutic and personal care products. Goji berries ingredients are mainly used in the liquid form.
The goji berry market in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa is covered in the report.China dominates the market in terms of production, with the cultivation of these berries being the major source of revenue in several of China’s northwestern provinces. The Ningxia and Xinjiang provinces in China produce the largest quantity of goji berries. The production capacity of the berries is very limited in North America and Europe as these berries are not native to these regions. However, with the increasing demand, many farmers belonging to the U.S. and Canada have taken up cultivation of goji berries. Northern California and parts of Northwest are considered ideal places for goji berry cultivation in the U.S.
The consumption of goji berries as part of food products is based on the increasing consumption of exotic, healthy and natural fruits. This demand for goji berries is particularly strong in North America and the EU. The historically high consumption of the fruit in Asia is also significant but is largely based on direct fruit and juice consumption.