Tapioca Prices Explained
Tapioca prices are set to go robust in the coming years as growing health consciousness among consumers, demand for gluten-free food, and the versatile application of tapioca across various industries slowly emerge as propellers of its growing market.
Additionally, cassava plants’ extensive agroecological adaptation and economical high-yield cultivation help them meet the growing demand for tapioca starch in end-use industries.
Why are tapioca prices fluctuating?
1. Demand for Tapioca
Consumer preferences and consumption patterns from industries such as food and beverage, animal feed, and industry influence consumer demand for tapioca.
Tapioca serves as a thickening, stabilizing, binding, sweetening, and filling agent in various products such as bread, noodles, candies, snacks, drinks, ethanol, paper, textiles, and medications.
Thus, changes in trends and advancements within these industries will directly influence tapioca demand and prices. Additionally, factors such as the increasing popularity of bubble tea contribute to a surge in demand for tapioca products.
2. Weather Conditions
If the supply of cassava decreases, tapioca and its related products become more expensive if the required weather conditions are not met.
Conversely, favorable weather increases the availability of cassava which lowers its price. For instance, a severe drought in Brazil resulted in lower tapioca output which raised its prices.
3. Import and Export
The import and export dynamics of tapioca and its products largely depend on trade regulations, tariffs, quotas, subsidies, and exchange rates of different countries which have an impact on the prices of tapioca in different markets.
For example, the COVID-19 pandemic decreased the market for tapioca due to lockdowns and lower economic activity in many different countries. As a result, tapioca prices decreased on the international market.
4. Production Costs
Changes in production costs including factors such as labor, fertilizers, and transportation affect tapioca prices.
For instance, the United States has an export price of roughly 1.61 US dollars per kilogram, whereas Thailand has an export price of about 580 US dollars per metric ton.
Furthermore, the cost of producing tapioca changes due to maize price variation which is used as a tapioca alternative in products like animal feed and ethanol.
Which variables impact the price of tapioca?
- Demand for Tapioca
- Weather Conditions
- Market Competition
- Production Costs
- Disease and Pests
- Trade Policies
Where does tapioca come from?
Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root, a tuber native to South America. Additionally, it is extremely mild and nearly flavorless which contributes to its culinary versatility.
There are several steps involved in manufacturing tapioca, from harvesting the cassava roots to making tapioca flour or pearls. Here is a general overview of the tapioca processing steps:
1. Harvesting Cassava Roots – The starchy tuberous roots of the cassava plant are the source of tapioca. Depending on the species, cassava plants take anywhere from 8 to 24 months to achieve maturity before harvesting.
2. Peeling and Washing – Next, the collected cassava roots undergo peeling to remove the outer skin, followed by a thorough washing process to eliminate dirt and impurities.
3. Grating – Then, the washed cassava roots are grated or shredded into small pieces. While traditional methods involve manual processes, modern processing facilities commonly use mechanical graters.
4. Pressing – Grated cassava is pressed to extract the starchy liquid. This liquid contains the tapioca starch.
5. Straining – To separate the starch from the cassava components, the starchy liquid is filtered. Additionally, to increase starch concentration, more processing is applied to the filtered liquid.
6. Draining – The obtained tapioca starch is dried to form a powdery substance. Then, the dried tapioca starch is used directly in cooking and baking.
7. Formation of Tapioca Pearl – To make a dough, tapioca starch and water are combined to make tapioca pearls. After shaping the dough into tiny, round pearls, they are typically cooked to give them a translucent, chewy texture.
8. Packaging – Whether they are flour, pearls, or another derivative, the finished tapioca goods are packaged and prepared for consumption and distribution.
What are the uses of tapioca?
Tapioca is almost pure carbs and contains very little protein, fiber, or other nutrients. Moreover, it is naturally grain-free, gluten-free, and vegan. A useful addition to various diets.
Unlike nuts, grains, or gluten, tapioca does not cause food allergies, celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity due to its high carbohydrate content.
Additionally, its versatility in various industrial applications makes it a valuable ingredient and resource in different manufacturing processes. Some of the industrial uses of tapioca include:
1. Food Thickener – Tapioca starch is a thickening agent that is widely used in the food industry to enhance the texture and consistency of soups, sauces, and other culinary products.
2. Boba or Bubble Tea – These chewy tapioca pearls are an essential element in the popular beverage known as “bubble tea.”
3. Sizing Agent – Its starch is used as a sizing agent in the textile industry which improves the weaving qualities of yarns and fabrics.
4. Paper Sizing – Also, it’s used as a sizing agent in the paper industry to enhance the strength and printability of paper.
5. Capsule Production – In the pharmaceutical industry, it’s a key component in the production of capsules.
6. Animal Feed Additive – Tapioca by-products are suitable for use in animal feed formulations due to their nutritional content.
7. Paperboard Coating – Paperboard products are coated with tapioca starch to improve their strength and surface characteristics.
What is the future price of tapioca?
The growing demand for tapioca in both animal feed and food industries is influenced by its high levels of starch and carbohydrates, making it versatile for various applications.
Additionally, the market is getting bigger because more people are looking for options other than gluten and grains in their food.
Furthermore, the health benefits of tapioca products and their use in several consumer goods will contribute to the global market for dried tapioca’s rapid development.
Overall, the tapioca price range will be $1.78 to $14.54 per kilogram in 2027 and its market is expected to reach $6.61 billion by 2029 with a CAGR of 6.62%.