Economy, Business And Markets

Opportunities in Barley Malt Industry

Opportunities in Barley Malt Industry
Opportunities in Barley Malt Industry

Barley is a common staple food and a popular cereal in many countries, surpassed only by wheat, corn and rice. The plant can be cultivated in most parts of Iran due to its adaptability with dry weather but despite its numerous health benefits, it remains less appreciated among Iranian consumers compared with other cereals.

An article in the Persian daily Forsat-e Emruz explores the potential market for byproducts obtained from barley, particularly the malt.

Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as malting. The grains are made to germinate by soaking in water, and are then halted from germinating further by drying with hot air. Various cereals are malted, though barley is the most common.

 Health Benefits

Mohammad Asadi, an expert in the malt manufacturing industry, cites various health benefits for malted barley. Barley malt syrup or extract provides a healthy food supplement for households. In addition to being sweet, barley malt extract contains amino acids, vitamin B and easily digestible protein.

It is a popular sugar substitute in health food products and a sweetener for tonic beverages. Barley malt extract mixed with cod liver oil can be used as a dietary supplement, especially for children.  The barley malt extract is also used as laxative.

 Industrial Applications

In Iran, malt is used in various industries to make non-alcoholic beer, malt vinegar, confections, flavored drinks, and some baked goods. A high-protein form of malted barley is often used as an ingredient in blended flours typically used in the manufacturing of yeast breads and other baked goods.

Barley malt is used as the primary ingredient in beer-brewing practices. Since consumption of alcoholic drinks in any form is prohibited in Iran based on Islamic law, domestic breweries manufacture only alcohol-free beer which is a popular beverage consumed both in the domestic market and exported to Muslim-majority countries in the region.

Iranian brewing companies currently import most of their requirement for malt extract. Behnoush Company, the leading manufacturer of non-alcoholic beer in Iran, recently announced that it would soon become self-sufficient in the production of malt extract after its malt production unit in Gachsaran county of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province becomes operational.

Iran’s first malting company in Hafshejan city in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province manufactured 3,200 metric tons of malt products over the past Iranian calendar year (ended March 20), leading to a saving of $3 million  in foreign currency imports, IRNA reported in March.

Considering the numerous health benefits and the large demand in various industries, malted barley production is viewed as a suitable market for investment in Iran. Investors are however advised to devote considerable attention to advertisement and promoting the products’ popularity among consumers before embarking on large-scale production.

The newspaper estimates that setting up a malting factory with production capacity for 1 ton of malt extract per month requires an investment of about 10 billion rials ($300,000 in market exchange rate) for purchasing the necessary equipment and machinery.