Malt is a product obtained by germination of cereal seeds. The main and most common cereal for the production of malt is barley. Less often, wheat, rye or oats are used to impart special taste qualities. The main scope of malt application is the production of beer and whiskey, as well as in the baking industry.
In the countries of the Asian region, the demand for malt is formed largely due to China, which is one of the world's largest producers of malt and beer.
Other major importers and consumers of malt in the region are Japan and Vietnam, where the popularity of beer has been actively growing in recent years and local craft breweries are increasingly opening, offering consumers new unique flavors. One of the important factors of malt demand in the region is the active development of the hotel and restaurant sector. Themed beer pubs and bars are appearing in the countries, where consumers are offered draft and bottled beer with a variety of flavors, and the hotel sector is actively increasing the range of alcoholic beverages for its visitors.
European countries are among the largest consumers and producers of malt in the region. A well-established beer culture in countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands and France with a general growing demand for gluten-free products forms the demand for malt and products from it, such as malt extracts. Moreover, European consumers are actively shifting their preferences towards products with a "Clean label", and strict state regulation of the use of food additives encourages manufacturers to replace artificial additives with natural and safer ones.
In this region, the demand for malt is explained by the active development of craft brewing, the popularity of whiskey, as well as the growing demand for non-alcoholic beer with new flavors. In addition, after the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers began to make more demands regarding product quality and shifted their preferences towards premium expensive beer drinks, believing that they get a quality product for a higher price. The demand for premium products is also supported by the trend towards conscious alcohol consumption, which encourages brewers to create more non-alcoholic craft beer with unique flavors from higher-quality and expensive ingredients.
In Latin America, the demand for malt is primarily due to the developed beer culture and the growing popularity of craft beer. Brazil and Mexico are among the main malt consumers in the region and the largest importers of this product, as they are major beer producers.
Many international brewing companies are actively involved in the development of the brewing sector in these countries and open their branches on their territory. As a result, the modernization of local breweries accelerated by attracting foreign investment and creating joint ventures, which allowed beer producers to significantly expand the range of products in response to growing consumer demand.
Compared to other regions, malt consumption in Africa is at a relatively low level. As in other regions, malt is used for brewing in Africa, but this industry in most African countries is still at the initial stages of development. In addition to brewing, malt is one of the key ingredients in the production of bakery products, the demand for which is growing in the region, moreover, in many African countries malt bread is an important part of the daily diet. The largest importer of malt in the region is Nigeria.
The volume of global malt consumption in 2022 amounted to 25.21 million tons, which is 2.6% more than 2021. In 2017-2022, consumption grew annually by an average of 0.7%. The decline in volumes was noted only in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant reduction in consumption due to quarantine restrictions around the world. As they weakened, the recovery of the global malt market began in 2021, and by 2022, pre-pandemic indicators were achieved.
Almost all the malt produced is used for the production of beer, being one of the main ingredients of this drink. In 2022, the global volume of beer consumption amounted to 200 billion liters, which is 2.6% more than in 2021.
In 2017-2022, this indicator grew by an average of 0.6%. At the same time, the global consumption of beer in the pandemic 2020 showed a decrease rate similar to malt consumption by 7.4% by 2019.
The Asia-Pacific region is the largest in the world in terms of malt consumption, which in 2022 amounted to 8.57 million tons, which is 0.7% more than in 2021. Thus, the Asia-Pacific region occupies 34.0% in the structure of world malt consumption. Despite this, the average annual growth rate for 2017-2022 was -0.7%, which is caused by a significant reduction in sales in 2020. To date, volumes have not yet recovered to the level of 2019. However, the growing popularity of beer in the region, especially craft beer, allows us to predict a further increase in malt consumption.
European countries rank second in the world in malt consumption with a share of 26.4%. In 2022, the volume amounted to 6.66 million tons, which is 2.5% more than in 2021. The average annual growth rate for 2017-2022 was 0.2%. Such low figures are also associated with a drop in sales during the pandemic.
The fastest growing region in malt consumption is Latin America, which occupies 19.0% of the world market. In 2022, sales amounted to 4.80 million tons, which is 6.5% more than in 2021. On average, over the period under review, the indicator increased annually by 4.1%. Unlike other regions in Latin America, there was no significant reduction in malt consumption.
Malt consumption in North America in 2022 amounted to 3.51 million tons, which is 1.1% more than in 2021. In the structure of global sales, the region occupies a share of 13.9%, being in fourth place. With the exception of a reduction in 2020, consumption volumes in 2017-2022 were unchanged, and the average annual growth rate was -0.01%.
Malt consumption in the Middle East and Africa in 2022 amounted to 1.67 million tons, which is 4.9% more than in 2021. In the structure of the world market of these products, the region occupies 6.6%. The average annual growth for 2017-2022 was 2.1%.
China, being the world's largest beer producer, also ranks first in the structure of global malt consumption with a share of 21.9%. In 2022, malt consumption in the country reached 5.5 million tons, which is 1.9% less than in 2021. The average annual growth rate for 2017-2022 was -0.8%. The reduction in malt consumption is associated with repeated outbreaks of COVID-19 in the country. After a decline in sales in 2020, the indicator recovered in 2021, but a new wave of diseases in 2022 forced China to resort to a policy of "zero tolerance for COVID-19", which also led to a reduction in the market. With the abolition of covid restrictions and the gradual normalization of consumer behavior in the medium term, an increase in malt sales is projected, supported by the growing demand for craft beer within the country. Despite this, in the long term, there is a risk of reducing malt consumption in China due to the expected decline in beer sales. Despite the popularity of craft beer, today it makes up only a small part of the market. In general, beer sales volumes will tend to decrease due to an increase in the share of the older generation consuming less alcohol and an increase in the purchasing power of the population, which will lead to an increase in sales of more expensive alcoholic beverages, in particular wine.
The second place in the structure of world malt consumption is occupied by the USA (12.7% of the world market). In 2022, malt consumption in the country amounted to 3.2 million tons, which is 0.8% more than in 2021. The average annual growth rate for 2017-2022 was 0.03%. In the USA, beer sales are projected to grow due to the adaptation of producers to the growing trend for healthy eating. In response to this, the production of non-alcoholic beer was increased, the spread of popularity of which will also allow to maintain the volume of malt consumption.
Brazil ranks third in the structure of world malt consumption with a share of 7.9%. In 2022, the volume of malt consumption in the country amounted to 2.0 million tons, which is 7.9% more than in 2021. Brazil is one of the few countries where beer consumption did not decrease as a result of the pandemic, but, on the contrary, increased. In 2021-2022, despite high inflation, beer sales in Brazil showed growth.
In the structure of world malt consumption, Russia ranks fourth with a share of 6.1%. In 2022, the volume of consumption amounted to 1.5 million tons (+10.0% by 2021). In 2017-2022, the Russian malt market increased by 4.3% per year annually.
Malt consumption in Mexico in 2022 amounted to 1.2 million tons, an increase of 6.2% compared to the previous year. In the structure of world consumption, the country accounted for 4.9%. To date, the Mexican market continues to recover from COVID-19. Beer consumption also shows an upward trend, which makes it possible to predict a further increase in malt sales.
Germany's share in global malt consumption in 2022 was 4.8%, and the market volume was 1.2 million tons (+5.9% by 2021). However, in 2017-2022, consumption dynamics showed negative growth rates at the level of -1.0%. The reason is the crisis in the beer industry caused by COVID-19, and the subsequent closure of many establishments and the cancellation of events popular among consumers of the drink.
In 2022, global malt imports amounted to 8.3 million tons worth 5.0 billion US dollars. In relation to 2021, volumes decreased by 5.0% and showed an increase of 14.4% in value. In 2018-2022, global malt imports increased annually by 1.7% by weight and by 5.8% by value.
The largest malt importing countries by the end of 2022 were Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, Japan, Belgium and the USA, which together purchased almost 3.7 million tons of malt (44.1% of the world volume). In value terms, these countries accounted for 43.3% of world imports (2.2 billion US dollars) in 2022. Other major importers of malt were also the Netherlands, Poland, Italy and Thailand. The absolute leader in malt purchases in the world is Brazil, which over the past five years has increased imports of this product by 60.2% by weight and 82.4% by value, taking about 15% of world malt imports.
In 2022, global malt exports amounted to 8.3 million tons worth 4.7 billion US dollars. In relation to 2021, volumes in physical terms decreased by 5.0%, while in value terms they increased by 12.6%. In 2018-2022, malt exports increased annually by 1.7% by weight and by 6.7% by value.
In the structure of world malt exports, the leading positions are occupied by the countries of the European Union: Belgium, France, Australia and Germany. In 2022, the volume of malt exports from these countries amounted to 3.8 million tons (45.8% of world exports) worth 2.0 billion US dollars (41.9%). Also, the world's largest malt suppliers are Argentina, Canada, China and Uruguay. In total, the top 10 malt countries accounted for 78.0% (6.5 million tons) of world exports and 77.6% (3.7 billion US dollars) in value terms.