China leads the global boom for probiotics

30 Mar 2022

Probiotics are experiencing a boom in global demand - particularly in China - as consumers look for functional ingredients in food and drink products that can improve their health. 

Probiotics are functional bacteria that help regulate a person’s gut microbiome by fighting off 'bad' bacteria that unbalance the system. What was once a nutritional supplement primarily associated with yoghurt and kefir to support digestion has now become an addition in a wide variety of products from cereal to juice.

China leads the global boom for probiotics

In the Asia-Pacific region, product launches with digestive health claims have grown by 23% between 2016 and 2021, according to Mintel. In 2020, China surpassed both the US and Europe to become the top global market for probiotic yoghurt and supplement sales.

In Europe, sales of probiotic supplements, probiotic yoghurt and sour milk products attained $10.2 billion in 2019, and the region accounted for nearly a third of global probiotic supplement consumption. In North America, where the probiotic market is dominated by the US, the market for probiotics is anticipated to reach $14.28 billion (€13.01 billion) by 2024, according to Mordor Intelligence.

Research explores what probiotics can improve in the body

This growth in demand has spurred the expansion of probiotic use by manufacturers. Research in recent years has explored and found links between probiotic-supported gut health and major organs including the brain, lungs and skin. Gut microbiota affect a wide range of health concerns and have been shown to also help manage inflammation as well as improve immunity.

With the effects of Covid-19 still fresh in mind, global manufacturers have had the opportunity to play to the advantages that probiotics can provide for an individual's health. Mintel research found that almost three in five US adults are seeking foods that encourage a healthy gut or microbiome. The US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service found that Americans' annual consumption of yoghurt has increased from 13.4 pounds (6.08 kilograms) in 2010 to 13.8 pounds (6.26 kilograms) in 2021.

Manufacturers invest in infusing products with probiotics

Awareness of the link between probiotics, gut health and overall wellbeing is growing, but there is still an opportunity for the market to grow if companies educating consumers about the benefits of probiotics. A survey from Danish ingredients manufacturer Chr. Hansen found that across 16 countries, 48% of respondents consumed probiotics daily or almost daily. Of those surveyed, 71% were interested in further education about the benefits of probiotics and were currently primarily reliant on packaging and online resources to deepen their understanding. 

In Europe where the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has taken a tough stance on label health claims, many consumers are searching for alternate sources of information to help them make purchase decisions. This presents an opportunity for manufacturers to educate consumers and drive interest in their products.

Twin trends: Clean label and functional health

The focus on gut health mirrors another trend: clean label. With more consumers paying attention to how microbiota can support their overall health through their gut, they have also begun to look at how other ingredients affect their overall wellbeing. As part of this trend, there has been an increase in clean-label products that are free from hormones, pesticides and artificial sweeteners and preservatives.

Sales of clean label ingredients are expected to jump from $38.8 billion (€35.34 billion) in 2021 to $64.1 billion (€58.38 billion) in 2026 according to data from Market Data Forecast.

Related news

Butter is Better: Keto is driving resurgence as a premium product

Butter is Better: Keto is driving resurgence as a premium product

11 Feb 2022

After years of being shunned as an ingredient, fat is back thanks in large part to the popularity of the keto diet. The market for keto products is growing steadily with the global value of this category forecast to reach $15.6 billion by 2027, accordi...

Read more 
Oats growing in popularity, winning awards and consumer favour

Oats growing in popularity, winning awards and consumer favour

10 Feb 2022

Oats have transformed from a breakfast ingredient to an increasingly common plant-based option, appearing in a multitude of applications.

Read more 
Chobani debuts plant-based coffee creamer

Chobani debuts plant-based coffee creamer

21 Jan 2022

After two years of producing dairy- and oat-based coffee creamers, Chobani is branching into plant-based coffee pairing options with the debut of Chobani Plant-Based Coffee Creamers. These creamers come in four flavors: Caramel Macchiato, Chocolate Haz...

Read more 
Animal-free dairy company raises $120M for commercialization

Animal-free dairy company raises $120M for commercialization

18 Jan 2022

Israeli animal-free dairy company Remilk raised $120 million in a Series B funding round led by Hanaco Ventures with participation from a number of other investors, including Impossible Foods backer CPT Capital, plant-based protein company Just, Yofix,...

Read more 
Chobani Sales surge as it moves closer to IPO

Chobani Sales surge as it moves closer to IPO

26 Nov 2021

Greek yogurt company Chobani saw its sales hit $1.2 billion as of Sept. 25 this year. That is only $200 million short of what the company recorded for all of 2020, when its sales rose 5.2% to $1.4 billion last year, according to a filing with the Secur...

Read more 
Cell-cultured dairy company maker TurtleTree closes $30M in Series A

Cell-cultured dairy company maker TurtleTree closes $30M in Series A

8 Nov 2021

Singapore’s TurtleTree successfully closed a $30 million Series A funding round led by Verso Capital. This investment is one of the largest rounds to date in Asia’s cell-based food sector and brings TurtleTree’s total investment figure to $40 million.

Read more 
EU approves protein ingredient from Eat Just

EU approves protein ingredient from Eat Just

25 Oct 2021

Eat Just, the company behind the mung bean-based Just Egg, received approval from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stating that its novel mung bean protein used in its egg substitute is safe for consumption. It is the first novel legume protei...

Read more 
Clara Foods rebrands as the EVERY Company and launches animal-free egg

Clara Foods rebrands as the EVERY Company and launches animal-free egg

20 Oct 2021

Fermentation startup Clara Foods announced it is rebranding as the EVERY Company at the same time that it is launching the world’s first animal-free, nature-equivalent egg protein — ClearEgg.

Read more 
Mondelez introduces a vegan version of its Cadbury bar

Mondelez introduces a vegan version of its Cadbury bar

18 Oct 2021

Cadbury will soon have a new vegan chocolate bar in the U.K., called the Cadbury Plant Bar, Mondelez International announced. The new plant-based offering is inspired by Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, one of the most well-known chocolate bar options in the regi...

Read more 
Danone set to launch “dairy-like” segment

Danone set to launch “dairy-like” segment

8 Oct 2021

To help close the gap between dairy drinkers and plant-based milk acolytes, dairy giant Danone is launching a plant-based “dairy-like” segment in January 2022. Initially, the new segment will launch with two beverages: Silk nextmilk and So Delicious Wo...

Read more