The scientific name of licorice root is derived from ‘glukos’, which means sweet and ‘riza’, which means root. This type of sweet root comprises glycyrrhizin, a type of compound that has the ability to be almost 50 times sweeter than sugar. Licorice is a kind of perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean and it has been prized for its medicinal properties for centuries now. Historically, the use of licorice extract has been documented in Egyptian papyri and Assyrian clay tablets as well. It can be claimed that owing to the benefits associated with licorice root, it has been a preferred and popular herb for decades now.
Insights suggest that owing to the health benefits associated with licorice root, its application across several industries and different sectors under the parent industry verticals is increasing by the day. The growing demand for a type of Chinese herbal medicine that uses licorice for its manufacturing has triggered high demand for licorice root. This trend is expected to retain its place in the coming years, thereby impelling manufacturers to adopt new strategies. Companies operating in the market are collaborating with agricultural land owners for the development of cultivated licorice root owing to the over-harvesting of wild licorice roots. Moreover, several products such as confectionery are also being developed with licorice as a key ingredient. As a result of the rising demand, many licorice producing countries in Central Asia are focussing on securing land for the purposes of harvesting. On the other hand, leading companies are entering into partnerships with harvesters to secure the steady production of licorice in the near future as procurement is likely to become difficult with the incessant depletion of natural resources.
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With these trends gaining traction, a report published by Future Market Insights (FMI) states that the global licorice root market is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 5.1% from 2018 to 2028. In 2017, the global licorice root market was worth US$ 669.4 Mn and is expected to rise to a valuation of US$ 1,159.8 Mn by the end of 2028.
Spurring Demand for Chinese Herbal Medicine to Trigger Sales of Licorice Root
In the last few years, there has been a growing demand for Chinese herbal medicine, mainly in Europe and the U.S. Approximately, 70% of the raw material that is used in several Chinese herbal medicines is licorice root and its extract. Owing to the rise in the use oriental medicine, the market for Chinese herbal medicine is fast gaining prominence and is expected to stay consistent in the coming years. At present, Japan is one of the leading consumers of Chinese herbal medicine. The market for licorice is expected to expand to regions such as Africa in the coming years. This trend is anticipated to accelerate the adoption of licorice root in the near future.
Overharvesting of Licorice Root and Resource Depletion to Negatively Impact Global Market Growth
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Being a wild crop and sourced from natural habitats, the availability of licorice root is very low. The widespread demand for licorice has outgrown its supply and overharvesting has led to resource depletion. In order to address this, governments across the globe have undertaken measures to prevent licorice root from depletion and also to balance the price points in the global market.